A global express network

In the Express division, we transport urgent documents and goods reliably and on time from door to door. Our global network spans more than 220 countries and territories in which some 100,000 employees provide services to 2.6 million customers.

Time-definite international shipments as our core business

With the main product, Time Definite International (TDI), we provide services with a pre-defined delivery time. We also provide industry-specific services to complement this product. For example, our Medical Express transport solution, which is tailored specifically to customers in the Life Sciences & Healthcare sector, offers various types of thermal packaging for temperature-controlled, chilled and frozen content. Collect and Return is used predominantly by customers in high-tech industries: technical products are collected from the user, taken in for repairs and then returned.

Our virtual airline

Our global network consists of several airlines, some of which we own 100 %. The combination of our own and purchased capacities, which includes varied contract periods, allows us to respond flexibly to fluctuating demand. The following figure illustrates how the available freight capacity is organised and offered on the market. The largest buyer of the available freight capacities is the DHL Global Forwarding business unit.

In 2018 we signed another agreement with Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH to convert an additional four Airbus A330-300s from passenger aircraft to cargo planes. Similar to the aircraft already converted, the newly converted planes will be used to cover medium to high-demand levels for cargo space capacity, which will both increase our flexibility and improve our fuel efficiency per kilogram transported.

Trade boosts international express business

The international express business is benefiting from cross-border e-commerce and the growing importance of small and medium-sized enterprises in this segment.


  • Expanding and modernising the network in the Europe region

    In the Europe region, we are reinforcing our network by steadily expanding our infrastructure and modernising our fleet. We officially opened our Brussels hub in February 2018, for instance. With four times its previous capacity, the hub is now one of our five largest worldwide. We also opened a new hub in Madrid, and expect construction of the new hub buildings in Cologne and Barcelona to be completed in 2019.

  • Expanding service in the Americas region

    Given the strong rise in demand, especially from the retail sector, we opened around 1,500 of our own or partner-operated service points in 2018 in the Americas region and added two logistics hubs to our infrastructure in Mexico.

  • Further investing in Asia

    In the Asia Pacific region, we put one of a total of four new Airbus A330-300s undergoing passenger-to-freighter conversion into operation in the year under review, which increases our previous loading capacity by around 33 %. This will enable us to supply markets in Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, in particular. We also established a gateway in Zhuhai at the new Macao Bridge to make optimum use of the shorter transfer times between China and Hong Kong. An additional flight on the Shenzhen – Moscow – Leipzig route was also established to support business in south China.

  • Reliable partner in the MEA region

    In the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region, the Middle East continued to suffer in 2018 from the sometimes unstable political situation. We were nonetheless able to maintain our operations whilst adhering to legal requirements and ensuring the safety of our employees.