Originally founded in 1969 to deliver documents between San Francisco and Honolulu, the company expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s. The company was primarily interested in offshore and inter-continental deliveries, but the success of FedEx prompted their own intra-US expansion starting in 1983. DHL aggressively expanded to countries that could not be served by any other delivery service, including the Eastern Bloc, Vietnam and China.
In 1998, Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL. It finally reached majority ownership in 2001, and completed the purchase in 2002. Deutsche Post then effectively absorbed DHL into its Express division, while expanding the use of the DHL brand to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its well-known DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding and DHL Supply Chain.
Larry Hillblom was studying law at the University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, and had little money. He started running courier duty between San Francisco and Los Angeles, picking up packages for the last flight of the day, and returning on the first flight the next morning, up to five times a week.
When he graduated, Hillblom decided to go into the courier business himself. He found a niche that no other company was filling, offering to fly bills of lading from San Francisco to Honolulu. By flying the documents ahead of the freight they could be processed prior to vessel arrival and save valuable time after arrival.
Hillblom put up a portion of his student loans to start the company, bringing in his two friends Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn as partners, with their combined initials as the company name. All three shared a Plymouth Duster that they drove around San Francisco to pick up the documents in suitcases, then rushed to the airport to book flights using another relatively new invention, the corporate credit card. As the business took off, they started hiring new couriers to join the company. Their first hires were Max and Blanche Kroll, whose apartment in Hawaii often became a makeshift flophouse for their couriers.
The company started expanding their service through the early 1970s, first to the Philippines, then Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. For lower-volume routes the company would hire couriers on a one-off basis, trading airline tickets for the delivery. This simple expedient would repeatedly save the company many legal hassles in the future, when would-be investigators would take them up on the open offer and make a delivery while taking their family on vacation. The first was when the FBI was tipped off about the groups of briefcase-carrying young men making repeated trips to Hawaii, and when they investigated and found nothing amiss, several agents became regular couriers for the company.Template:Citation needed
In the 1970s DHL was one of the only truly international delivery companies, and the only one offering overnight service. The only major competitor in the overnight market was Federal Express (FedEx), which didn't open its first international service until 1981, expanding to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Nevertheless, the domestic market was extremely profitable, and DHL was the third largest courier behind FedEx and the UPS.
DHL turned their attention to the overnight market in the US, following the success of FedEx, and opened a major distribution hub in Cincinnati in 1983. However, DHL was never able to overcome FedEx's head start, capturing only 6% of the domestic market. In comparison, at the same time they were by far the largest international carrier, with 40% of that market. By the late 1980s the domestic operations were losing money, while the foreign operations continued to account for 2/3 of the company's income. A European hub opened in Brussels in 1985.Template:Citation needed DHL may also have been reluctant to invest in the US market during the 1990s due to numerous lawsuits involving the company in the US courts, instituted by South Pacific Islanders claiming paternity of children by Larry Hillblom, who had died in an air crash over the Pacific Ocean, his body never recovered. These lawsuits persisted throughout the 90's and were only settled when DNA was, under pressure of the courts, obtained from the relatives of Mr. Hillblom.
Deutsche Post began to acquire shares in DHL in 1998, finally reaching majority ownership in 2001. Following the completion of the purchase in 2002, Deutsche Post effectively absorbed DHL into its Express division, while expanding the use of the DHL brand to other Deutsche Post divisions, business units and subsidiaries. Today, DHL Express shares its well-known DHL brand with other Deutsche Post business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and DHL Global Mail.
All US domestic flights were handled by DHL Airways, Inc. which in 2003 was renamed ASTAR Air Cargo. DHL's first airline still remains with over 550 pilots in service, as of October 2008.
- 2001: Deutsche Post acquired a majority (51%) of DHL's shares, and the remaining 49% in 2002. The new DHL was launched by merging the old DHL, Danzas and Securicor Omega Euro Express.
- 2001: The Packstation, an automated delivery booth, is introduced as a pilot project in Dortmund and Mainz.
- 2002: Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937, a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger jet, collided with DHL Flight 611, a Boeing 757-200 cargo jet, at 35,000 ft (11,000 m) over Überlingen, Germany, due to a miscommunication between the pilots of Flight 2937 and Swiss air traffic control. The 69 people aboard the Tupolev (consisting mainly of Russian schoolchildren) and the two pilots of the Boeing were killed.
- December 2002: Introduced red and yellow new color scheme and logo.
- August 2003: Deutsche Post acquires Airborne Express, and begins to integrate it into DHL. The Airborne Express Airline named ABX Air is to provide contract ACMI service until 2011.
- 22 November 2003: DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad: Iraqi insurgents fired an SA-7 "Grail" surface-to-air missile at a European Air Transport Airbus A300 operating on behalf of DHL. The aircraft had taken off from Baghdad airport. The missile struck the left wing, disabling all three hydraulic systems and setting the wing on fire. The aircraft began a dangerous phugoid (vertical oscillation) but the crew managed to land safely at the airport despite only being able to control the aircraft by adjusting the engine thrust.
- September 2004: a planned expansion by DHL at Brussels International Airport created a political crisis in Belgium.
- 21 October 2004: DHL Express announced that it would move its European hub from Brussels to Leipzig, Germany (Vatry, France was considered and rejected). DHL's unions call a strike in response, paralyzing work for a day.
- 8 November 2004: DHL Express invests €120 million in Indian domestic courier Blue Dart and becomes the majority shareholder in the company.
- September 2005: Deutsche Post made an offer to buy contract logistics company Exel plc, which had just acquired Tibbett & Britten Group.
- On December 14, 2005, Deutsche Post announced the completion of the acquisition of Exel plc. When integrating Exel into its Logistics division, it added its well-known DHL brand acquired with the purchase of DHL Express to form the name DHL Exel Supply Chain. Following the latest deal, DHL have a global workforce of 285,000 people (500,000 people including DPWN and other sister companies) and roughly $65 billion in annual sales.
- September 2006: DHL wins ten year contract worth £1.6 billion, to run the NHS Supply Chain (part of the UK's National Health Service). DHL will be responsible for providing logistics services for over 500,000 products to support 600 hospitals and other health providers in England. As part of this new contract, in 2008 DHL will open a new 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) distribution centre to act as a stock holding hub for food and other products, with another distribution centre opening in 2012. The two new distribution centres will create around 1,000 new jobs.
- September 2007: DHL Express co-founds new cargo airline AeroLogic, based at Leipzig/Halle Airport, in a 50:50 joint venture with Lufthansa Cargo. The carrier will operate up to 11 Boeing 777Fs by 2012.
- December 2007: DHL becomes the first ever carrier to transport cargo via wind powered ships flying MS Beluga Skysails kites.
- May 2008: DHL Aviation moved their central depot to Leipzig; Germany, resulting in a significant positioning for improved service and timeliness to the European Union.
- 28 May 2008: DHL Express announced the restructuring plans for its United States network, including terminating its business relationship with ABX Air and entering into a contract with competitor UPS for air freight operations. Its cargo hub would shift from Wilmington to Louisville. The Air Line Pilots Association, International protests. See also: Wilmington, Ohio
- October 2008: Two DHL Express Middle East senior executives, David Giles and Jason Bresler, were assassinated in Kabul, by one of their own Afghan employees; they received military honors by the U.S. military, the first of such kind in Afghanistan.
- 10 November 2008: DHL announces that it is cutting 9,500 jobs as it discontinues domestic air and ground operations within the United States to deal with economic uncertainty. It is retaining international services, and is still in talks with UPS to transport DHL packages between U.S. airports.
- 30 January 2009 DHL ends domestic pick up and delivery service in the United States, effectively leaving UPS and FedEx as the two major express parcel delivery companies in the United States Limited domestic service is still available from DHL, provided that the packages are tendered to USPS for local delivery. NewEgg is one such company that uses this option as of May 10, 2011.
- April 2009: UPS announced that DHL and UPS have ended negotiations for an agreement for UPS to provide airlift for DHL packages between airports in North America. DHL said in a statement, "We have not been able to come to a conclusive agreement that is acceptable to both parties." DHL will continue to use its current air cargo providers, ASTAR Air Cargo and ABX Air for now.
- On 18 March 2010 a DHL Antonov An-26 aircraft made an emergency landing on the frozen Lake Ülemiste, close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. Initial reports indicated problems with the landing gear and one of the engines. The flight was being operated by Exin on behalf of DHL. The aircraft involved was SP-FDO and the flight had departed from Helsinki Airport. Two of the six crew members were injured.
DHL Express's global headquarters are part of the Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn.
Headquarters for the Americas are located in Plantation, Florida, USA, while its Asia-Pacific and Emerging Markets headquarters are located in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The European hub is in Leipzig.
Most of DHL Express' business is incorporated as DHL International GmbH.
Major competitors include FedEx, UPS]], TOLL, TNT and national post carriers such as United States Postal Service and Royal Mail. However, DHL has a minor partnership with the USPS, which allows DHL to deliver small packages to the recipient through the USPS network. It is also the sole provider for transferring USPS mail in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
DHL offers worldwide services, including deliveries to countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Burma. As it is German-owned, DHL is not affected by U.S. embargoes or sanctions and will ship to Cuba, Iran and North Korea. However there are strict codes for delivering to North Korea, as the country has shaky relations with the West.
As DHL is not a US company, it is not allowed to make domestic flights between U.S. airports. DHL contracts these services to other providers.
Measures have been taken to physically control the amount of polluting by use of the alternative fuel examples. DHL changed vehicles in certain delivery fleets in accordance to their use of newer fuel ideas. The fuel was switched to compressed natural gas which they hope to accomplish with 50% of their vans.
On 16 September 2005 DHL won a High Court injunction establishing an exclusion zone around each of its 288 buildings in the UK as well as the homes of its 18,000 UK employees. The firm has been the subject of a campaign of intimidation because of their business with Huntingdon Life Sciences. The judge banned protesters from coming within 50 yards (46 m) of any DHL premises or the homes of their employees as well as any organized demonstration within 100 yards (91 m) unless the police had been given four hours' notice. The injunction also protects anyone doing business with DHL from intimidation.
DHL Aviation Edit
- Main article: DHL Aviation
Deutsche Post owns four airline subsidiaries operating for DHL Express, operating a total of 80 aircraft, which are collectively referred to as DHL Aviation:
- DHL Aero Expreso, Panama City, Panama, services destinations in Central and South America.
- DHL Air UK, Hounslow, United Kingdom, provides services for the European network from East Midlands Airport.
- European Air Transport, Brussels Airport, Belgium, runs the European network. Its base has been moved to Leipzig/Halle Airport.
- SNAS/DHL, Muharraq, Bahrain, provides services from Bahrain International Airport for a wide variety of Middle East destinations, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
For several years, DHL was the primary sponsor of the Porsche RS Spyder Le Mans Prototypes in the IMSA American Le Mans Series. DHL also sponsors Ryan Hunter-Reay's #28 IndyCar Series car for Andretti Autosport. Manchester United Football Club announced their first training kit sponsor in August 2011, agreeing a four-year deal with DHL reported to be worth £40 million; it is believed to be the first instance of training kit sponsorship in English football.
In 2011, DHL partnered with Inc. Magazine to profile the fastest growing businesses in the international business world.
- Official site
- Deutsche Post World Net
- The business of climate: A look to technology "The State of Global Trade"; interview with Herman Ude, CEO DHL Global Forwarding Freight regarding APEC Singapore 2009
- Major DHL Express feature on Global Aviation Resource
- Non-document Shipments to Private Individuals in Russia
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