DHL Forwarded to a Third Party Agent (What It Means + More)

If you’re anything like me, your eyes stay glued on your DHL tracking information every time you’re waiting for a package to arrive. As a result, you’re probably pretty familiar with tracking terms like “in transit,” “cleared by customs,” and “out for delivery.” 

However, there is a DHL tracking term you might not be familiar with – “forwarded to a third-party agent.” This article will tell you what this term means, who the third-party agents are, and what you can expect from your package delivery, so keep reading!

Why Is DHL Forwarded to a Third Party Agent in 2024?

“Forwarded to a third party agent” is a tracking term used by DHL to indicate that a package has been passed to another carrier in 2024. DHL uses third-party agents when it doesn’t have a large presence in the destination country or when it’s behind schedule. Third-party agents are local postal carriers like the United States Postal Service. 

You may still have a lot of questions when it comes to third-party agents, so keep reading this article to learn more!

What Does “Forwarded to a Third Party Agent” Mean at DHL?

“Forwarded to a third party agent” is a tracking information update used by DHL to indicate that they have passed a shipment to another carrier. 

This carrier will complete the next leg of the package delivery or will complete the final delivery.  

Why Does DHL Forward to Third Party Agents?

When you purchase shipping through a certain company, it’s normal to expect that that company will be the one to complete the final delivery. 

As a result, seeing that your package has been passed to a third-party agent can be confusing, frustrating, and worrisome, especially if you don’t know what’s going on. 

However, rest assured, DHL and other companies like FedEx and UPS routinely use third-party carriers to complete their deliveries. 

Currently, there are several reasons why DHL relies on third-party carriers. 

One reason is that a package needs to be delivered outside the DHL delivery area. 

This occurs most frequently with international shipments to countries where DHL doesn’t have an expansive network.  

That said, DHL also uses third-party agents in countries where the delivery network coverage is broad. 

For example, even though DHL has a presence in the United States, the company still uses the United States Postal Service to complete many of its deliveries, especially those in rural areas. 

Finally, another reason why DHL may use a third-party agent for delivery is that the company is behind schedule and under pressure. 

This could happen for reasons like staffing shortages or package backlogs.  

In these cases, DHL is able to delegate some of its work to other companies, freeing itself to catch up on other deliveries. 

Who Does DHL Use as a Third Party Carrier?

Who Does DHL Use as a Third Party Carrier?

If you see that your package has been passed off to a third-party carrier, it’s normal to wonder who will be responsible for the delivery. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t one single answer to this question, as DHL contracts with a number of local postal carriers and companies. 

In other words, the delivery location often dictates which third-party agent will be responsible for the delivery. 

Here are some examples of DHL’s third-party carriers based on country: 

In addition to using local postal carriers as third-party agents, DHL also uses Amazon or small, locally-based companies. 

Where Is My Package After Being Forwarded to a Third Party Agent Through DHL?

When you see the “forwarded to a third party agent,” this means your package is nearing its destination. 

That’s because third-party agents often refer to local postal carriers. So, receiving this update usually means your package has reached the destination country. 

Can I Track a DHL Package Forwarded to a Third Party Agent?

In some cases, you won’t be able to track your package after DHL hands it off to a third-party agent because it’s no longer being shipped by DHL. 

As a result, the tracking information may stop updating. 

However, depending on the third-party agent, you may be able to resume tracking through the carrier’s website. 

To get the local postal provider’s tracking number, go to the DHL tracking webpage and find the field marked “Delivery by Postal Provider” on the right-hand side of the screen. 

Once you get this number, enter it into your local postal carrier’s website. You should be able to continue tracking your package from there.  

If that doesn’t work, you can try entering your DHL tracking number into a universal tracking service webpage. 

This program will scan all major carrier companies to find the details of your shipment. 

What If DHL Tracking Is Frozen After Being Forwarded? 

As mentioned above, your DHL tracking information may stop updating after your package is handed off to a third-party agent. 

If you’ve tried tracking your package on your local postal carrier’s website and using a universal tracking tool with no success, then contact DHL. 

You can contact DHL by phone, email, or live chat on the website. 

After providing details about your shipment, a representative will be able to tell you where your package has been dispatched and when you can expect delivery. 

How Long Does DHL Delivery Take After Being Forwarded to a Third Party Agent? 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer about when you can expect to receive your delivery after it’s been forwarded to a third-party agent. 

Some customers mention receiving their package within a day or two of seeing this tracking update, while others said their delivery took more than a week to arrive. 

To know more, you can also read our posts on whether DHL is a union, whether DHL is cheaper than USPS, and whether DHL estimated delivery is accurate. 


DHL forwarding a package to a third-party agent may seem like an odd concept, but it happens on a regular basis. Doing so helps DHL reach more customers more quickly. 

Although this practice has its advantages, it can also be frustrating if you lose the ability to track your package or if you have to wait longer for delivery. In either case, feel free to contact DHL for updates on your package. 

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Florence Howard

Florence Howard has been freelance writing for over a decade, and has a vocational background in retail, tech, and marketing. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to rock and metal, and playing with her dog and cat.

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