Why Is DHL Taking So Long? (9 Reasons Why)

These days, it seems as though everyone wants their packages as soon as possible. While that’s understandable to a point, it’s important to recognize that there are several things that delay packages, many of which are outside a delivery company’s control. 

In this article, we’ll look at what some of these reasons are and see if there’s anything you can do as a shipper to prevent package delays, so keep reading!

Why Is DHL Taking So Long in [currentyear]?

DHL deliveries get delayed for various reasons. Third-party deliveries, signature requirements, and lost packages are the fault of DHL in [currentyear]. Other reasons, like an incorrect address or missing paperwork, are the fault of the sender. However, other reasons, like bad weather, political unrest, and natural disasters, are mostly unavoidable. 

You’re probably looking for more reasons why DHL is taking so long, so be sure to read this entire article for more useful facts!

1. Third-Party Delivery 

One reason why DHL deliveries sometimes take a long time to arrive is because of DHL’s relationship with local postal carriers. 

For many years, DHL has contracted local postal services in countries around the world to complete its last-mile deliveries. 

As an example, in the United States, DHL hands packages off to the United States Postal Service (USPS). 

Doing so saves DHL money and resources like vans, gas, and employees. However, this arrangement often results in slower deliveries. 

This happens because a DHL truck has to get to a local post office before it closes. 

Even if the driver makes it in time, there’s a good chance they’ll arrive too late for the post office to process the package. 

As a result, the package may be delayed up to two days for delivery. 

2. Signature Requests 

Most of DHL’s delivery options require the recipient or someone at the delivery address to sign for their package

However, if no one is available, then DHL will hold onto the package and reattempt delivery the next day. 

After a second unsuccessful delivery attempt, DHL will bring the item to a sorting center where the recipient can pick it up. 

Depending on the recipient’s schedule and when delivery is reattempted, a package could end up delayed for several days or more. 

3. Lost Packages 

Another reason why your DHL package is taking so long to arrive is that DHL lost it. 

This is rare but usually happens because a package was placed on the wrong truck. 

In some cases, DHL is able to find the package and redirect it where it needs to go. In others, a package may remain missing for weeks. 

When that happens, the shipper usually ends up having to send a replacement item. 

Regardless of the situation, a misrouted or lost package results in serious delays. 

4. Incorrect Address 

Putting the wrong address on a package causes major delays. 

In some cases, the shipper is able to correct the address while the package is still en route to its destination. 

If that’s the case, the package still needs to get rerouted, something that also delays delivery by several days. 

However, rerouting a package is the best-case scenario. Usually, incorrectly-addressed packages get returned to the sender as undeliverable.  

When this happens, the shipper must either wait for the item to be returned, resend it to the correct address, or send a replacement item. 

Either way, delivery is delayed by several days. 

5. Customs


Unlike FedEx and UPS, which focus primarily on the American domestic market, DHL specializes in international shipping. 

Because of this, DHL has to deal with thousands of packages passing through customs on a daily basis. 

In most cases, this process is straightforward and doesn’t result in long delays. However, when a customs office is busy, packages may wait two or more days for processing. 

As well, packages may get delayed if paperwork is missing or if additional duties need to be paid. 

6. Weather 

Even though DHL is constantly innovating and trying to improve its delivery times, unexpected events like bad weather are unavoidable and can cause delays. 

For instance, heavy rain can cause flooding or washed-out roads, both of which prevent DHL vans from reaching their destinations on time. 

As well, snow and ice cause delays because they make roads slippery and treacherous to drive. 

In some cases, drivers may attempt to make deliveries despite the poor conditions. However, it’s more common for them to wait until conditions improve before going out again. 

Depending on how bad the conditions are, your package may get delayed by a day or more. 

7. Natural Disasters 

On a related note, natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, and tornados cause major delays when it comes to deliveries. 

If your package encounters any of these events along its delivery path, you could end up waiting several days for your delivery. 

This is the time it takes for roads to get cleared and/or for DHL to find an alternative route. 

8. Vehicle Issues 

Vehicle problems are another common explanation for slow DHL deliveries. 

When a van breaks down, the driver must determine if they can repair it or if they need to request a replacement. 

Regardless of the situation, the packages the driver is carrying will likely get delayed by at least a day. 

9. Political Unrest 

As an international carrier, DHL frequently finds itself face-to-face with protests, marches, and other forms of political unrest. 

These events can slow deliveries because drivers are forced to find alternative routes. 

As well, it’s possible that a country closes its borders, causing your package to get stuck in transit while the situation gets resolved. 

To know more, you can also read our posts on where you can get DHL envelopes, who delivers DHL in Canada, and how to use DHL pack stations.


As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why DHL deliveries take longer than expected. Some of these reasons, like lost packages or signature requirements, are the responsibility of DHL. 

Other reasons, like a misaddressed package or missing paperwork, are the fault of the sender. Still, uncontrollable things like bad weather or political unrest are the most common reasons for package delays. 

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Mackenzie Jerks

Mackenzie is a freelance writer and editor, published author, and music enthusiast who holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. When she’s not writing, Mackenzie is either wrapped up in a book, discovering new music, or introducing herself to a new fitness regimen.

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