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Table of contents

  1. Interesting facts about DHL package tracking
  2. How the tracking of a package works
  3. The journey of a DHL package from the store to your home
  4. DHL Package Depots
  5. The question of time - when will the package arrive?
  6. Possible status messages in DHL shipment tracking
  7. First aid for problems with your DHL package
  8. What happens when you are not at home

Interesting facts about DHL package tracking

You have most likely landed on this page because you are expecting a DHL package. Did you know that the name DHL is an acronym for the initials of the founders Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn? In 1969, the three founded the parcel and letter express service.

A parcel carrier delivers a package with DHL
A parcel carrier delivers a package with DHL. © Bildrechte: DHL

The company is now represented worldwide and employs over 520,000 people in more than 220 countries! In Germany alone, DHL Paket has around 13,000 branches, 11,000 parcel stores, 3,200 DHL Packstations and around 800 DHL Paketboxes.¹

DHL estimates that by the end of 2011, around 1.7 billion shipments were transported in Germany alone, including 4.6 million parcels per working day.¹

With such large volumes, it is extremely helpful to be able to determine the current locations of parcels with DHL Parcel Tracking.

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How tracking a package works


For domestic shipments in Germany, DHL packages usually take 1-2 business days. For international shipments, delivery can also take 1-2 weeks. Good that there is exactly for these cases the DHL shipment tracking.

The package tracking, or also called shipment tracking (in English track and trace), provides information about where shipments are at a certain time.²

Maybe you have already noticed the barcode on the label of your DHL package. With this, machine-readable, code the computer-controlled stations can recognize, where the transmission is to be dispatched. A clever system, with which you can track at any time, where your package is currently located! The detailed history of a package via the DHL website

The detailed shipment history of a package via DHL shipment tracking

On the official DHL page for shipment tracking or on parcello.org you can then see, in great detail, which stations your package has already passed through and which it still has to pass through before you can hold it in your hands.

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The journey of a DHL package from the store to your home


At the beginning of every DHL shipment tracking, you certainly know the famous sentence "The order data for this shipment has been electronically transmitted to DHL by the sender." This means that the online store from which you ordered has already announced the package to DHL and it can be picked up by the DHL parcel carrier at any time. It is already recorded in the system.

From the sender to the starting parcel center


After the DHL parcel carrier has picked up the shipments, all parcels are now driven to a regional parcel center. You can then recognize this step in your DHL shipment tracking by the shipment status: "The shipment has been processed at the start parcel center." There, your package will be sorted, scanned and loaded into the correct truck. Did you know that during the automatic scan the parcel is measured, weighed and often photographed?³ If a parcel should ever be insufficiently franked or damaged, this can be determined and tracked using the photo.

From the starting parcel center to the destination parcel center to you


The next step is usually to transport your parcel to the destination parcel center. For domestic shipments this is done by truck, for international shipments mostly by cargo airplane. Most shipments arrive at the destination parcel centers during the night. From there, all parcels are sorted and loaded into the correct DHL delivery vehicles. As soon as the parcel carrier has loaded his vehicle, he sets off on his delivery route and delivers the shipments either to your front door, to a branch or to a Packstation - just as you have selected in advance. But more about that later.

Parcels from abroad

Naturally, the above course is the "ideal course" of a national shipment. It's usually different if you're expecting a parcel from abroad.

The DHL delivery vehicle

One DHL parcel carrier and one DHL delivery vehicle
One DHL parcel carrier and one DHL delivery vehicle | © Bildrechte: DHL

The most important component in tracking - the tracking number


The DHL shipment number, also known as tracking ID, is usually a combination of numbers and letters that helps you to clearly identify your package for tracking and tracing. These numbers can be between 10 and 39 digits long⁴ and usually start with "JJD..." or "00340..." at DHL. For international shipments, which were handed over by other shipping service providers, the shipment numbers are usually 13 characters long, with the last two characters indicating which country the package originated from.

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DHL Parcel Depots


In the previous section, we looked at the journey of your parcel. The most important stations here are the DHL Paketdepots, or parcel centers. These parcel depots are used as intermediate stations, shipments are bundled and sorted. Subsequently, the onward transport to the next parcel depot takes place.

In total, there are 34 parcel depots for the further processing of DHL parcels distributed throughout Germany.⁶ The depots are divided into different "routing areas" and named to match the initial digits of the respective postal codes. A DHL parcel depot in 10115 Berlin therefore belongs to routing area 10. Unfortunately, it is not possible to pick up your parcel from one of the 34 parcel depots at DHL. If you fear that something went wrong with your shipment, please first contact the DHL support hotline.

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The question of time - when will the package arrive?

Everyone knows it when tracking their package. Knowing the day when the DHL package will arrive is already great, but knowing the exact time is more helpful! That's exactly where we come in with parcello™ DHL package tracking. At that time, we at parcello™ were surprised that there was no information about this yet. So in 2011, we came up with the idea of using statistics and artificial intelligence to predict parcel routes, and parcello™ was born. Since then, we have changed the logistics industry significantly, because we were pioneers with our idea to provide a delivery window and time. Millions of people can now plan their day more wisely, thanks to our delivery time prediction.

How does DHL shipment tracking work with parcello™?

You have two options. If you have a shipment number (or also called tracking ID), you can easily enter the number in the search box via this parcello page and then click "Track Shipment".

Parcel tracking input mask with parcello
DHL package tracking with parcello™

After that, all relevant data will be displayed. If you now, in the second step, enter your address, the forecast will be more accurate and can, based on the surrounding data, calculate a delivery window for you. The advantage of parcello™ is that we can always specify a time window, with the DHL tracking this is unfortunately not always the case.

If you don't have a tracking number available and just want to check when DHL usually delivers to you, go to the parcello page and click on the button "Only the times (without tracking number)". Then you enter your address and a time window will be displayed. The more data available in your area, the more accurate the time window will be. Our goal is to predict packages to within 10 minutes!

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Possible status messages in DHL shipment tracking

In the course of shipping, your package passes through many stations (see above). The respective shipping status can then give you information about where it is and what happened last with your shipment. The following list gives you an idea of what status messages DHL has. Please note that the list is not completely complete and is only based on one part of the packages that have been tracked via parcello. Errors excepted.

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The most common shipment statuses from DHL at a glance


In our blog, we have taken a closer look at the most common status messages from DHL and written together what they mean. → Here's the overview.

By far the most popular shipment status


We agree, the most popular shipment status after all is probably "The shipment has been loaded into the delivery vehicle" The anticipation is rising, because the probability that you will hold your package in your hands today is relatively high. With parcello™ you can now check at what time the package is expected to arrive at your door.

Sometimes, however, it can happen that the DHL driver, due to high traffic or a large volume of parcels, does not manage to deliver all his packages. If this should be the case with you once, this will be displayed to you at the latest in the evening of the same day in the shipment tracking with the status: "The shipment could not be delivered today".

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First aid for problems with your DHL package

If something has gone wrong with your package or you have a problem, the DHL support hotline should be your first port of call. Please note that the hotline number can be chargeable. At DHL, however, the support hotline is free for standard deliveries, but for express deliveries it costs 20 cents/call from a German landline and 60 cents/call from mobile.⁵

You can find more information on this topic in our blog article: These are the hotline numbers for DHL.

Help my DHL package has disappeared


If the status in the package tracking does not change over a long period of time, then it is time to think about an investigation request. This can always make the sender of your package. So it is best to contact the online store you ordered from and the person who posted the package. In most cases, the major online stores show themselves accommodating and send the goods again. For more information, we have written together here.


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What you can do if DHL tracking is offline


Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that DHL's systems have problems or are even completely offline. About the international website www.dhl.com you could try if you can track your package there. Because sometimes only the German servers are "down", but the international servers are still working.

Internationalen Sendungsverfolgung von DHL über www.dhl.com
Mit der Internationalen Version von DHL könnte die Sendungsverfolgung noch klappen

The second option is to track your package with the service AfterShip. This service uses the interface of online stores and so can sometimes provide data when no others are there.

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What happens when you are not at home

If you are on the road or at work during the day, it can happen that you miss the delivery of your package. As a rule, DHL only makes one delivery attempt. Either the DHL parcel carrier now gives your shipment to a neighbor or directs it to a parcel store or post office.

DHL Notification card
The DHL notification card | © Bildrechte: DHL

With the notification card that the parcel carrier leaves in your mailbox, you can then pick up your package on the next business day.

If, however, you know that you will soon receive a DHL package, but can not accept it, you have three different options.

Possibility 1: Delivery preference

You could arrange a fixed delivery preference⁷. You store a desired location, a desired day or desired neighbors and your package is automatically delivered there.


Option 2: Packstation or post office

You could have your shipment delivered to a Packstation or post office⁷. The DHL Packstation is a good option if you often have packages delivered. You don't have to wait in line for a long time and can conveniently pick up your package with the notification card. Please note that your package will be stored in a Packstation for a maximum of 9 days before it is returned to the sender.


Option 3: Redirect parcel

You could have your parcel redirected⁷. While the package is still being delivered, you can change your delivery address to a Packstation or post office branch.

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Individual references:

  1. https://www.dpdhl.com/de/ueber-uns/unternehmensbereiche/post-ecommerce-parcel.html
  2. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sendungsverfolgung
  3. https://www.paketda.de/empfangen/brief-paket-sortierung-transport.html
  4. https://www.dhl.de/de/privatkunden/dhl-sendungsverfolgung.html
  5. https://blog.parcello.org/2015/11/10/hotline-nummer-dhl-2/
  6. https://www.dpdhl.com/de/ueber-uns/unternehmensbereiche/post-ecommerce-parcel.html
  7. https://www.dhl.de/de/privatkunden/wunschpaket.html

Other sources:

Related links:

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