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History DHL

What does DHL stand for?

International shipping, courier, and packaging service. DHL was established in 1969 by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn. The name DHL is derived from the first initial of each founder's last name.

History of DHL Express Suriname

The DHL Express business in Suriname started in 1983 at the Hoogestraat. Just as all DHL couriers in the world, our couriers went as passengers on board of the plane with a courier bag. At their destination they handed the bag over and got in return a bag with shipments for Suriname.

With the same plane they returned to Suriname.

As DHL grew, it became very global and the way of providing services to all our customers changed for the better.

Picture: The first building of DHL Express Suriname in 1983 at Hoogestraat

Here is a historic overview of how DHL expanded its service throughout the world.

1969 to present

Just months after man's first landing on the Moon, DHL began operating the first international door-to-door express delivery service in the world. When Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn established DHL in 1969, they simultaneously invented the international air express industry.

In the beginning, the three partners delivered shipping documents by air, so that they arrived at customs offices before the freight, and enabled goods to pass through customs with less delay.

1969 On 25 September, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn (the D, Hand L in our company name) incorporate DHL. The company begins by operating a door-to-door express delivery service, transporting documents only between San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii.

1970 After one year, DHL is handling shipments for 40 clients and expanding its operations to include Guam, Los Angeles and Portland, Ohio.

1971 With a rapidly growing network of enthusiastic customers in the USA, DHL begins to meet demands for an international service by opening territories in the Far East and Pacific Rim.

The Philippines becomes operational and the US network continues to develop.

1972 DHL International is founded with the opening of an office in Hong Kong, and this is followed later that year by offices being established in Japan and Singapore.

The Sydney office opens and becomes the headquarters for Australia.

1973 Now with over 3,000 clients and 314 staff, DHL uses its substantial experience and expertise in the international air express industry to commence services to New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand.

1974 This year DHL handles over 500,000 shipments.

Operations in the UK commence, spurred by the increasing importance of London as a key financial centre.

1975 DHL continues to move into Continental Europe, opening offices in Amsterdam and Paris and begins a service to South Korea. DHL is the first express delivery company to open up in the Middle East with offices in Tehran, Iran.

1976 DHL opens in Mexico and Scotland. DHL begins a service to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

1977 DHL opens service centres in Canada, Korea, Norway and Germany. The company also develops its network in the Middle East with offices opening in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

DHL begins to move away from pure document delivery by introducing the Small Parcel Express service, which later became Worldwide Parcel Express (WPX).

1978 DHL opens in the Caribbean and becomes the first international air express company to offer a service in Latin America, starting with Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

In Europe, DHL Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium become operational.

Nigeria becomes the first territory in Africa to open up to DHL.

1979 DHL reaches its 10th birthday. It now operates over 360 service centres and has more than 85,000 customers who rely on DHL for express service.

DHL continues to grow in Africa with the opening of offices in South Africa and Kenya.

In Latin America, the office in Argentina opens.

Lebanon and Oman are established in the Middle East.

Denmark, Andorra, Spain and the Canary Islands are opened in Europe.

1980 DHL expands into many new territories. Service Centres are set up in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Bangladesh, China, India, Sri Lanka, Austria, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.

The organisation is now so large that it is re-structured into regions, linked by a telecommunications network.

1981 DHL opens in Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cyprus, Gabon, Haiti, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Caledonia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and Turkey.

1982 From Anguilla to Zaire, 1982 marks a year of acceleration in the establishment of DHL service centres throughout the world.

Services start to Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bolivia, Bonaire, Cape Verde, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Iceland, Martinique, Mauritania, Montserrat, Nevis, Nicaragua, St. Barthelemey, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Senegal, Tonga, Turks and Caicos Islands and Zaire.

DHL is the first air express company to formulate plans to use state-of-the art packet-switching to track packages and aid communications between DHL staff.

1983 A momentous year as DHL forges ahead of the competition and opens up Eastern Europe to the express delivery industry for the first time.

DHL also starts service to Belize, Bosnia, Botswana, Brunei, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Liberia, Maldives, Malta, Seychelles, Slovenia, Surinam and Togo and the Channel Islands.

In the US, the overnight programme is developed, using the USA airline system from two hubs at Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.

1984 DHL continues its massive global growth programme. As well as opening in territories as far apart as Benin and Vanuatu, the first automated customer service system is deployed in Washington DC.

DHL starts services to Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Congo, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea Republic, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Qatar, Russia, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.

The Unix operating system was adopted for DHL hardware and software and the first automated customer service system was deployed in Washington DC, USA.

1985 This year marks a huge leap forward in DHL's ability to service customer needs in Europe, with the opening of the new international hub in Brussels, Belgium - the largest sorting facility outside the US.

DHL starts service in Bulgaria, Burkina Fasso, Djibouti, Mozambique, Nauru, Somalia and Swaziland.

1986 Service to the People's Republic of China is formalised with an exclusive joint venture between DHL and Sinotrans.

DHL starts services to the Cook Islands, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Reunion Island, Gambia, Lesotho, Tahiti, Madagascar, Mali, Uganda and Zambia.

WorldMail is introduced - a service for the cross-border transport and distribution of mailings.

DHL introduces new standards of customer service. Delivery targets before 10:30 and-12 noon and end-of-day are established. All incoming calls have to be answered within three rings and all calls that require a response are returned within 60 minutes.

1987 DHL begins delivery service to Chad, Comoros, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

The Global airwaybill is introduced to facilitate further the sending of shipments.

1988 Between 1985 and 1988 DHL doubles its customer base to more than half a million and quadruples the number of shipments it handles. It's also the first express delivery company to anticipate the demand for total logistics solutions.

Namibia, St. Lucia and Vietnam are added to the list of countries served by DHL.

In the US, the Cincinnati hub is expanded to cope with continued growth.

DHL Budapest is established as a joint venture with Hungary's state-owned transport company Hungarocamion. Following this, DHL's Eastern Europe head office is relocated from Frankfurt to Budapest.

DHL Middle East introduces the Express Club for its customers, providing members with an enhanced service.

1989 Celebrations take place around the world to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of DHL.

The Brussels hub is expanded to keep pace with explosive growth.

Services to Tanzania and Laos are set up.

A brand new headquarters building for DHL Japan is established in Tokyo.

Easyship, an integrated shipping processing system is introduced to allow customers to have complete control in preparing and tracking shipments, all from their PC.

1990 DHL signs an historic Global Transport Alliance with Lufthansa Cargo, Japan Airlines and Nissho Iwai.

Start of services to Bhutan, Cambodia, Cuba, Equatorial New Guinea, Libya, Macedonia and Sao Tome.

With the old Eastern European countries opening up trade with the West, DHL sets up in the Czech Republic.

DHL initiates Easylynk services together with Western Union. This pioneering service combines an electronic transmission via satellite to a DHL office for printing and onward despatch and delivery (the service survived as Satellite Express until the advent of electronic mail).

DHL sets up its first Express Logistics Centres around the world to service its customers' future requirements. The vision the company communicates to its customers is the ability to provide next morning delivery of their inventories anywhere in the world.

1991 DHL becomes the first express delivery service to deal with a Baltic state - Latvia (formerly part of the Soviet Republic).

Offices open in Tirana, Albania and services start to Estonia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, Niue, Romania, Tuvalu and Ukraine.

DHL prompts a major breakthrough in customs clearance technology by establishing a direct computer link with UK Customs. The software, developed by DHL, cuts clearance times for inbound dutiable shipments by up to 50% whilst guaranteeing accuracy of documentation and administration.

1992 Lufthansa Cargo, Japan Airlines and Nissho Iwai increase their interest in DHL to 57.5%.

DHL begins delivering to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

1993 DHL launches its service to Belarus and Slovakia.

The company announces a massive four-year capital spending programme with investments in worldwide handling systems, automation, facilities, communications and computer technology.

An investment of US$ 60 million is made in the Bahrain regional distribution centre.

1994 DHL begins a service to Algeria.

Next-day delivery between the Middle East and Brussels is guaranteed with the first scheduled Boeing 757 freighter service.

1995 DHL sets up in Mauritius and Moldova.

A gateway facility opens in Moscow.

A US$10 million hub is opened in Bombay.

1996 DHL opens the Asia Pacific hub in Manila, Philippines.

A high-tech Express Logistics Centre is opened in Singapore.

Internet tracking of shipments is introduced.

1997 DHL Dubai becomes the first company in the Middle East to earn an ISO 14001 certificate for environmental practices and strategy.

1998 Deutsche Post AG becomes a shareholder of DHL International, as part of a vision to align its European ground-based services with DHL.

DHL Connect, an Internet-based desktop shipping solution for customers, is launched.

1999 DHL opens the company's largest US service centre in Sunnyvale, California, catering for booming high technology shipments from Silicon Valley.

DHL announces investment in a new export facility at Melbourne Airport, Australia, offering bonded warehousing (with in-house customs clearance and direct access to tarmac) and strategic inventory management for customers.

DHL launches DHL WAP Track, the industry's first tracking service designed specially for use with WAP-enabled mobile phones and devices.

DHL announces the acquisition of 44 Boeing 757s for its Europe and Africa network.

DHL Worldwide Express shows its commitment to facilitate the growth of e-commerce by providing logistics services to businesses as it unveils the opening of an on-line Express Logistics Centre (ELC) in Tsuen Wan.

DHL introduces next-generation mobile wireless data scanner, the CatsEye.

2000 DHL launches the world's first global SMS tracking service to allow customers to track DHL shipments via text messages wherever they can use a mobile phone.

DHL launches, which acts as a source of business intelligence for companies and helps guide them in their transition from traditional non-internet business into e-business.

2001 DHL Aviation in Europe & Africa is awarded a region-based ISO 14001 certification.

The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) elects the founders of DHL to their International Air Cargo Hall of Fame.

DHL announces the formation of a new UK airline, based at East Midlands Airport, England.

DHL celebrates the arrival of the first Boeing 757 Special Freighters at its Brussels hub, Belgium from the new fleet of 44 Boeing 757 announced in October 1999.

DHL announces expansion of its existing next-day express deliver service to provide Timed Delivery across all major business centres in the European Union.

DHL and NWA Cargo combine forces to provide customers with fast, reliable and secure services linking the US and Asia in a multi-million dollar deal, reinforcing DHL's leading market position in Asia Pacific.


Deutsche Post (DPWN) becomes a majority shareholder in DHL by increasing its stake to 51%.


Deutsche Post bundles its entire express and logistics business under the DHL brand. On April 1, 2003, the Group begins re-branding some 20,000 parcel delivery vans throughout Germany in the new DHL design. Deutsche Post AG had increased its share in the global market leader in the courier and express business to 100 percent in December 2002. The new, internationally renowned DHL brand underscores the Group's evolution into a global player. Synonymous with speed and modernity, the express and courier brand DHL is one of the best-known logistics brands around the globe. The consolidation of the worldwide parcel and logistics business under the DHL brand is the result of the consistent implementation of the Group's global "one-stop shopping" concept, offering the whole range of services from a single source. Around the world, the courier and express business (formerly DHL), the parcels business (formerly Euro Express) and the logistics business (formerly Danzas) are brought together under the new brand.

The Group places its international mail services outside of Germany under a new umbrella brand. Deutsche Post Global Mail becomes DHL Global Mail. With this decision, the Group continues pursuing its one-stop shopping concept by offering worldwide mail, express and logistics solutions from a single source. On October 18, the new brand is launched in America and in the Asia-Pacific region. The second step is taken in January 2005 with the European relaunch.

In the US, the new brand is known as DHL Smart&GlobalMail. The words "smart" and "global" reflect the linking of the domestic services provided by the brand SmartMail, already well established in the US, with the expertise of Global Mail in the international mail sector.


In December 2005, Deutsche Post acquires the British logistics company Exel for 5.5 billion euros. At that time, approximately 111,000 employees work for Exel in 135 countries.

Exel specializes in providing transport and logistics solutions for key customers. The company concludes the first half of 2005 with a 55 percent leap in profits to 172 million pounds (251 million euros).


The Group, with its brands DHL, Deutsche Post and Postbank, seeks to become the first choice for all customers with the "First Choice" service campaign. Consistent, comprehensive employee orientation to customer satisfaction is the key to reaching this goal.

A total of over 1,000 individual projects worldwide will be initiated within the scope of First Choice. The focus is on increasing customer satisfaction among both private and business customers.


The Group further expands its role as an innovation leader in worldwide logistics with the opening of the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf near Bonn. The mission of this state-of-the-art research and development center is to develop new, highly innovative and marketable products from the logistics trends of the future.

The projects carried out in the DHL Innovation Center are realized together with innovation partners from the business world such as IBM, Intel and SAP. In addition, the DHL Innovation Center maintains research partnerships with the logistics institutes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and Saragossa as well as the German Fraunhofer institutes. The showrooms attached to the center provide customers, business partners and interested visitors with a closer look at the latest technologies in the logistics industry.


DHL has officially opened its new European air freight hub at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. The hub, one of Europe's largest construction sites, expands DHL's international network, providing greater connectivity to global growth markets and enabling DHL to improve its overall customer service.

The decisive criteria for the choice of location were the position of the airport, its proximity to growth markets in Eastern Europe, the long-term planning security with comprehensive authorization for night-time flights, the wealth of motivated and highly qualified locally-based personnel, and impressive infrastructure which allows for a future-oriented combination of the carriers air, road and rail.

Leipzig is the first DHL facility able to meet its needs for electricity, heating and cooling energy, to a large extent self-sufficiently. This is ensured by a cogeneration unit for combined heat and power generation, together with 1,000 square meters of solar cells on the roof of the hangar workshop for the generation of electricity from solar energy. In addition, two underground cisterns, with a capacity of 300 cubic meters each collecting around 3,000 cubic meters of rain water each year, will be used instead of drinking water to wash the aircraft.


Effective immediately, the Group will be known as Deutsche Post DHL Group. The new name stands for clear structures, a new transparency in the Group and integrated solutions for customers. The new Group strategy comprises in essence a Group structure focused on Deutsche Post and DHL and a tighter interlinking of the DHL divisions, among other things through the creation of an additional overarching executive committee. In addition, there will be programs to simplify planning processes, an even stronger focus on the ever-changing needs of customers as well as support for the open leadership culture, propagated by Frank Appel, by means of an incentive system that places results and respect-oriented cooperation in the foreground.


By launching its digital letter the E-Postbrief, Deutsche Post has ushered in a new era in communication by mail. Using this modern technology private individuals, businesses and administrative bodies can use the internet to communicate with one another safely and securely. The E-Postbrief is as binding, confidential and reliable as a letter and as fast as an e-mail.


For the first time, Deutsche Post DHL Group invites the public to take part in its Sustainability Day. At the head office in Bonn, representatives from the fields of politics, industry and social welfare take part in a dialog on issues such as: corporate responsibility in the 21st century, the changing demands of the workplace on employers and employees, and the investors expectations for sustainable corporate management. "As a global company, we want to help shape the dialog on sustainable business", says Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL Group.


DHL opens its biggest express hub in Asia - the US$175 million DHL Express North Asia Hub at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The company also announced plans to further invest US$132 million (EUR100 million) to add eight dedicated aircraft to service high demand routes between Shanghai and North Asia, Europe and the US, by 2014. The Hub is a logistics milestone in DHL's Asia Pacific network. With over 30 years of experience, DHL is the leading logistics brand in Asia. DHL divisions Express, Global Forwarding and Supply Chain are the clear market leaders in the international express, air freight and contract logistics business in the region as well as in many of the region’s most dynamic country markets such as China. DHL’s outstanding market position is based on its extensive investment in infrastructure and its own array of services. DHL plans to generate one third of its revenues in the region by 2017.


Deutsche Post DHL Group is switching to electric vehicles for its delivery services in Bonn and the surrounding region, making the city the first location in Germany with a carbon-free vehicle concept. The pilot project is unique worldwide and shall serve as a role model for other cities and regions. It sees about 141 electric vehicles on the road by 2016, all for the parcel delivery and the combined mail and parcel delivery. resulting in decreased CO 2 emissions of over 500 tons per year. As part of the project, the StreetScooter, developed by Deutsche Post in cooperation with StreetScooter GmbH and institutes at the RWTH Aachen University, will be put into service in the summer of 2013.


Deutsche Post DHL announced its new "Strategy 2020: Focus.Connect.Grow." - a continuation of the positive momentum generated by the successful "Strategy 2015" defining the Group's next phase of development. Strategy 2020 outlines the Group's strategic priorities for the coming years and underscores its goal to become the company that defines the logistics industry.


DHL launched its new brand campaign with the tagline "The Power of Global Trade". The campaign's guiding theme is the deep connection between trade and logistics and the impact it has in improving people's lives. The campaign underscores the influence of global trade on people's well-being and the important role DHL plays within this area.


With the acquisition of UK Mail, one of the largest integrated mail and parcel operators within the UK, Deutsche Post DHL Group further strengthens its European cross-border parcel network. The acquisition will allow the Group to bring its expertise in e-commerce and parcel delivery together with UK Mail’s existing customer base and network.





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