Revolutionising the global logistics industry: DHL

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When University of California student Larry Hillblom accepted a job as a courier in the 1960s, he could not have predicted that within a few decades his business would revolutionise the global logistics industry.

DHL was formed in 1969 to operate a business-to-business delivery service between Honolulu and San Francisco for a single client. By the early 1970s, the company was international and had already taken its place as the third-largest domestic courier behind rivals FedEx and UPS.

Today, DHL employs almost 400,000 people across 220 countries and delivers an incredible 1.8 billion parcels every year. The company’s overnight parcel courier service is now just one of many global divisions. Others include its rapid shipping service, DHL Express, plus DHL Freight, DHL Supply Chain, and the DHL ecommerce platform.

Another of its largest operations, DHL Global Forwarding, specialises in international enterprise shipping via air, rail and sea, inclusive of insurance and customs support. This division alone has moved 2.1 million air freight tonnes and 3.1 million ocean freight tonnes for its more than 167,000 customers around the world.

Due to its vast international transport network, DHL has taken considerable steps to reduce its impact on the environment. The company now completes over 100 million last kilometre deliveries with e-vehicles, gets 86% of its electricity from renewable sources, and has employed 70,000 certified GoGreen specialists to help its customers reach their sustainability objectives. As a result, DHL hopes to be globally carbon-neutral by 2050.

The company’s returns are just as impressive. Having reported record-breaking revenues of almost USD 82bn in 2021, it saw a 15% year-on-year increase, reaching over USD 94bn in 2022.

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