Last MileNewsParcel

Peak surge, COVID led DHL e-commerce unit to stop US customer on-boarding early

Cutoff moved to Aug. 1 from Oct. 1, company confirmed

DHL’s eCommerce Solutions unit stopped accepting new U.S. customers on Aug. 1, two months earlier than usual, because of projected peak-season volume surges and continued uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, DHL confirmed Tuesday.

In an email to FreightWaves, DHL Spokesman Daniel McGrath said the unit typically stops new U.S. customer on-boarding on Oct. 1 so it can prepare for peak-season activity. The decision to move up the cutoff date this year was “to ensure we can abide and maintain all our commitments and expected levels of service to our existing customers,” McGrath said in the email. The unit will resume regular customer on-boarding during the first quarter, he added.

The DHL unit expects U.S. small-package volumes to increase 30% to 50% this peak compared to 2019 levels, McGrath said.

DHL’s air express unit, DHL Express, is predicting a 50% year-over-year increase in peak traffic to the U.S. from international origin points, according to McGrath. DHL Express is not turning away any prospective customers, McGrath said.

DHL Express ceased domestic U.S. service in January 2009. DHL continues to serve the U.S. as part of its international air network of 220 countries. Most of DHL’s U.S. traffic is inbound into the country, McGrath said. DHL Express has its own fleet of freighters.

Most DHL customers will ship during its traditional peak period of Thanksgiving through Christmas, McGrath said. Some customers, however, may ship earlier should they accelerate the launch of holiday promotions, he added.

Virtually everyone involved with peak-season planning has predicted an unprecedented cycle this year, especially for e-commerce, as the holiday shopping and shipping frenzy converges with highly elevated adoption of online ordering as a result of the pandemic.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.

We are glad you’re enjoying the content

Sign up for a free FreightWaves account today for unlimited access to all of our latest content

By signing in for the first time, I give consent for FreightWaves to send me event updates and news. I can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.