The history of Deutsche Post DHL Group

500 years of postal history - from the founding of the modern postal system to the establishment of the world's leading logistics group.

  • Hillebrand is recognized as a market expert in ocean freight forwarding, with a focus on beverages, non-hazardous liquids, using innovative flexitanks and ISO tank containers. DHL will benefit from Hillebrand's know-how and customer experience in bulk liquids and other adjacent special care commodities, to leverage the positive underlying growth pattern of these products. It also offers a wide range of value-added services, which will now be available to DHL customers, driving continuous outstanding service quality and exceptional customer experience. These services include industry-leading customer facing tools with best in class IT systems, as well as end-to-end service offers in the fast-growing bulk liquids segments including own flexitank productions being the industry benchmark in this sector.

  • Deutsche Post DHL Group is increasing the pace of its planned decarbonization of the company. To this end, the Group is investing a total of 7 billion euros (Opex and Capex) over the next ten years in measures to reduce its CO2 emissions. The funds will flow in particular into alternative aviation fuels, the expansion of the zero-emission e-vehicle fleet and climate-neutral buildings. Along the way towards its zero emissions target by 2050, which has already been in force for 4 years, the company is committing to new, ambitious interim targets. For example, Deutsche Post DHL Group commits as part of the acclaimed Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

  • Deutsche Post DHL Group’s GoTrade Program launched in 2020 with the aim of giving small and medium-sized companies from developing countries, access to global markets. In cooperation with public sector partners, the Group contributes to building entrepreneur’s strengths and skills, and also helps reduce red tape at borders through digitizing customs processes. Our international logistic specialists are currently engaged in several projects across the globe, aiming to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth for societies and communities.

  • "Strategy 2025 - Delivering excellence in a digital world" is laying the foundation to continue the successful growth trajectory of the world's leading logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group. The company will be focusing even more consistently on harnessing the sustained potential for profitable long-term growth contained in its core logistics businesses. Furthermore, it will be stepping up the digital transformation of the Group that is already underway in all business divisions.

  • In order to allow for a dedicated focus on the Post and Parcel business in Germany and to leverage the tremendous growth opportunities in the e-commerce sector, the Group has decided to refocus the Post - eCommerce - Parcel (PeP) division on the post and parcel business in Germany. This business will be renamed Post & Parcel Germany. The international parcel and e-commerce businesses - previously DHL Parcel Europe and DHL eCommerce - will be established as a standalone division.

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  • Deutsche Post DHL Group will reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by the year 2050. In pursuit of this ambitious new target, Deutsche Post DHL Group hopes to contribute meaningfully to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius established at the 2015 Paris climate conference (COP 21), as well as to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Deutsche Post DHL Group also wants to become the market leader in green logistics and plans to expand its portfolio of green products and services to help customers achieve their own climate protection targets.

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  • With the acquisition of UK Mail, one of the largest integrated mail and parcel operators within the UK, Deutsche Post DHL Group further strengthens its European cross-border parcel network. The acquisition will allow the Group to bring its expertise in e-commerce and parcel delivery together with UK Mail's existing customer base and network.

  • On December 9, 2014, Deutsche Post DHL signed the purchase agreement for StreetScooter GmbH – a former start-up associated with RWTH Aachen University whose aim was to design cost-effective electric cars. The collaboration between Deutsche Post DHL and StreetScooter GmbH had begun as early as 2011 with the development of an electric vehicle tailored to the needs of Deutsche Post DHL. The first prototype of the StreetScooter for Deutsche Post was unveiled in 2012. The delivery vehicle fleet now comprises some 24,000 electric vans, most of which are StreetScooter models. In January 2022, Deutsche Post DHL sold the rights and know-how for the production of StreetScooter electric vans to the international consortium ODIN Automotive S.à.r.l. (Luxembourg), now known as B-ON.

  • DHL celebrates the inauguration of its newly expanded hub for the Americas at the Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky (CVG) Airport. The event marks the culmination of a US$105 million, four-year effort to enhance this facility to meet the growing international shipping demand of large multinational corporations as well as small business  customers. The CVG global hub sits at the heart of the DHL U.S. network with flights connecting customers from over 220 countries and territories worldwide to every corner of the U.S. In addition to global hubs in Hong Kong and Germany, the CVG hub completes the backbone of the DHL intercontinental network.

  • Market position in Asia expanded

    DHL opens its biggest express hub in Asia - the US$175 million DHL Express North Asia Hub at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The Hub is a logistics milestone in DHL's Asia Pacific network. With over 30 years of experience, DHL is the leading logistics brand in Asia. DHL divisions Express, Global Forwarding and Supply Chain are the clear market leaders in the international express, air freight and contract logistics business in the region as well as in many of the region’s most dynamic country markets such as China. DHL’s outstanding market position is based on its extensive investment in infrastructure and its own array of services. DHL plans to generate one third of its revenues in the region by 2017.

    All mail centers modernized

    The Stuttgart mail center is the last site to begin operating the new Großbrief mail item sorting system. Now all 82 Deutsche Post mail centers are equipped with the world leader in cutting-edge mail sorting machines. Deutsche Post has installed a total of 288 sorting machines for standard and compact letters as well 87 machines for Großbrief and Maxibrief items since 2009, an investment of around EUR400 million. This modernization effort will help ensure Germany’s fast, high-quality mail services into the future.

  • GARD expands disaster management

    Deutsche Post DHL Group and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) together announce an expansion of the new Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) training program. Following the two pilot projects in 2009 at the Makassar and Palu airports in Indonesia, disaster-preparedness training will now be conducted on a regular basis. The goal is to provide airport logistics management training to airport personnel, local safety experts and representatives from national-level disaster agencies so that they are prepared to respond effectively in the event of a natural disaster.  

    Deutsche Post develops own electric car

    Deutsche Post and StreetScooter GmbH, together with prominent partners from research and industry, are developing a pioneering design for an electric car to be used for mail and parcel delivery. Prominent institutes of the RWTH Aachen University will also continue to be part of the project.  The objective of this mutual endeavor is to create a completely new delivery vehicle that meets the special requirements of Deutsche Post in terms of suitability for daily operational use and economic efficiency. It should also produce zero emissions. The electric vehicle which is to be developed for Deutsche Post's mail and parcel delivery must be able to handle up to 200 stops and start-up procedures and be in use up to 300 days a year.

  • Strategy 2015

    Effective immediately, the Group will be known as Deutsche Post DHL Group. The new name stands for clear structures, a new transparency in the Group and integrated solutions for customers.

    The new Group strategy comprises in essence a Group structure focused on Deutsche Post and DHL and a tighter interlinking of the DHL divisions, among other things through the creation of an additional overarching executive committee. In addition, there will be programs to simplify planning processes, an even stronger focus on the ever-changing needs of customers as well as support for the open leadership culture by means of an incentive system that places results and respect-oriented cooperation in the foreground.

    Sale of Postbank

    Deutsche Post AG sells a minority interest of 22.9 percent of Postbank to Deutsche Bank. The transaction is concluded on January 14, 2009, and is the first tranche in the sale process. The 22.9 percent minority interest corresponds to 50 million Postbank shares. With the sale, Deutsche Post withdraws gradually from the banking business. Deutsche Bank has the option of acquiring another 27.4 percent of Postbank in the following three years.

  • Leipzig/Halle air hub opens

    DHL has officially opened its new European air freight hub at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. The hub, one of Europe's largest construction sites, expands DHL's international network, providing greater connectivity to global growth markets and enabling DHL to improve its overall customer service.

    The decisive criteria for the choice of location were the position of the airport, its proximity to growth markets in Eastern Europe, the long-term planning security with comprehensive authorization for night-time flights, the wealth of motivated and highly qualified locally-based personnel, and impressive infrastructure which allows for a future-oriented combination of the carriers air, road and rail.

    Leipzig is the first DHL facility able to meet its needs for electricity, heating and cooling energy, to a large extent self-sufficiently. This is ensured by a cogeneration unit for combined heat and power generation, together with 1,000 square meters of solar cells on the roof of the hangar workshop for the generation of electricity from solar energy. In addition, two underground cisterns, with a capacity of 300 cubic meters each collecting around 3,000 cubic meters of rain water each year, will be used instead of drinking water to wash the aircraft.

    The Group starts global climate protection program GoGreen

    Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to reduce its carbon footprint for every letter mailed, every container shipped and every square meter of warehouse space used by 30 percent by the year 2020. With this target, the No. 1 global logistics company is the first major company in its industry to set a quantifiable climate protection target.

    The key levers of the climate protection program GoGreen are the optimization of the air and ground fleets, improved energy efficiency in buildings and plants, the development of innovative technologies, motivating employees, and the involvement of subcontractors. Furthermore, the Group will be expanding its range of GoGreen products and services and introducing them onto new markets.

    Frank Appel becomes the new CEO of Deutsche Post

    Following Klaus Zumwinkel's resignation from his office as Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Post, the Supervisory Board appoints Frank Appel as his successor on February 18.

  • Opening of the DHL Innovation Center

    The Group further expands its role as an innovation leader in worldwide logistics with the opening of the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf near Bonn. The mission of this state-of-the-art research and development center is to develop new, highly innovative and marketable products from the logistics trends of the future.

    The projects carried out in the DHL Innovation Center are realized together with innovation partners from the business world such as IBM, Intel and SAP. In addition, the DHL Innovation Center maintains research partnerships with the logistics institutes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and Saragossa as well as the German Fraunhofer institutes. The showrooms attached to the center provide customers, business partners and interested visitors with a closer look at the latest technologies in the logistics industry.


    The Group, with its brands DHL and Deutsche Post, seeks to become the first choice for all customers with the "First Choice" service campaign. Consistent, comprehensive employee orientation to customer satisfaction is the key to reaching this goal.

    A total of over 1,000 individual projects worldwide will be initiated within the scope of First Choice. The focus is on increasing customer satisfaction among both private and business customers.


  • The Group acquires Exel

    In December 2005, Deutsche Post acquires the British logistics company Exel for 5.5 billion euros. At that time, approximately 111,000 employees work for Exel in 135 countries.

    Exel specializes in providing transport and logistics solutions for key customers. The company concludes the first half of 2005 with a 55 percent leap in profits to 172 million pounds (251 million euros).

    Majority of Deutsche Post shares held privately

    In June 2005, KfW Bankengruppe sells off 126.5 million shares in Deutsche Post. Over 53.8 percent of all Deutsche Post shares are now in free float. Five years after the IPO, the majority of Deutsche Post shares are no longer owned by the government.

  • © 2001 Deutsche Post AG

    Postbank goes public

    Postbank's IPO is the largest new issue in Germany since Deutsche Post AG's IPO in November 2000 and is also one of the largest issues ever on the German capital market. Postbank stock (symbol DPB) has been freely traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and all German regional stock exchanges since June 2004.

    The stock was more than two and a half times oversubscribed. It was very well received by institutional investors in Germany and abroad, with an issue price of 28.50 euros set after bookbuilding.

  • © 2010 Deutsche Post AG

    DHL in a new design: A new brand for the worldwide express and logistics business

    Deutsche Post bundles its entire express and logistics business under the DHL brand. On April 1, 2003, the Group begins re-branding some 20,000 parcel delivery vans throughout Germany in the new DHL design. Deutsche Post AG had increased its share in the global market leader in the courier and express business to 100 percent in December 2002.

    The new, internationally renowned DHL brand underscores the Group's evolution into a global player. Synonymous with speed and modernity, the express and courier brand DHL is one of the best-known logistics brands around the globe.

    The consolidation of the worldwide parcel and logistics business under the DHL brand is the result of the consistent implementation of the Group's global "one-stop shopping" concept, offering the whole range of services from a single source.

    Around the world, the courier and express business (formerly DHL), the parcels business (formerly Euro Express) and the logistics business (formerly Danzas) are brought together under the new brand.

  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    Deutsche Post acquires DHL

    The partnership with DHL International, which began with the acquisition of a minority interest in 1998, is expanded and intensified in 2000. Negotiations were then concluded allowing Deutsche Post to establish a majority interest from January 1, 2002. In July 2002, Deutsche Post acquires a 25-percent share in DHL from Lufthansa Cargo and increases its majority stake to 75 percent.

    At the time, DHL Worldwide Express had more than 71,000 employees worldwide. A pioneer in global express shipping, DHL's international network links over 220 countries and territories. DHL becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Group in December 2002 after Deutsche Post AG acquires the remaining shares from two investment funds and Japan Airlines.

  • © Deutsche Post AG

    One June 27, 2001, Deutsche Post AG holds its first Annual General Meeting after the IPO in the Kölnarena with approximately 6,000 shareholders. The Chairman of the Board of Management, Klaus Zumwinkel, confirms to the shareholders the Group's goal of consistently expanding in the coming years to become the "number one global player" in logistics based on comprehensive logistics and financial services for our customers worldwide.

  • © Deutsche Post AG

    On November 20, 2000, Deutsche Post AG goes public. The largest IPO of the year in Germany and the third-largest worldwide proves a resounding success. An initial total of 29 percent of the share capital of Deutsche Post AG is sold. The immense demand, as evidenced by an eight-fold oversubscription to the shares offered in the IPO, clearly demonstrate that the Group's strategy has convinced investors and the capital market alike.

    Employee participation in the subscription is strong. Some 145,000 domestic employees of the Group subscribe to more than 6 percent of the total volume, thus acquiring approximately 400 million euros in share capital.

    For the time being, the IPO would crown the privatization process of the formerly government-owned company.

  • © 2001 Deutsche Post AG

    Acquisition of Danzas and AEI

    The acquisition of the Swiss logistics provider Danzas and the largest American service provider in the field of international airfreight, Air Express International (AEI), attracts attention. Founded in 1815, the prestigious Danzas group is regarded as one of the world's leading logistics companies. With approximately 29,000 employees at the time of acquisition, Danzas has a strong logistics network on all continents.

    The acquisition of AEI is similar. AEI has a network of branches in 135 countries. In addition to integrated logistics and multi-modal transport, it offers warehousing, distribution, customs processing and IT-based logistics services. AEI is integrated into the Intercontinental division of Danzas. As a full-service provider, the merged companies provide Deutsche Post with a dense transport network as well as an impressive portfolio of value-added services.

    Acquisition of Postbank

    In December 1998, the federal government of Germany sells its shares in Postbank to Deutsche Post AG. The acquisition of Postbank, which became effective January 1, 1999, forms the basis for a joint sales strategy.

  • © 2001 Deutsche Post AG

    "Letter 2000" concept becomes reality

    The last of 83 mail centers throughout Germany is opened in Regensburg on December 4, 1998, giving Deutsche Post one of the most modern mail transport networks in the world. Customers benefit from substantial improvements in mail transit times.

    The new mail centers replace approximately 1,000 mail processing offices where letters were sorted for the most part manually until the early 1990s. Over 85 percent of all letters are now processed by machine. The modern mail sorting systems can automatically scan and sort up to 36,000 letters per hour. Deutsche Post's largest mail centers are located in the urban centers of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

  • © Deutsche Post AG

    The age of globalization dawns at Deutsche Post

    Following the successful domestic restructuring of the company, Deutsche Post AG begins setting the course for global expansion. Globalization of business activities comes in response to the growing number of customers seeking a single service provider for their national and international shipping needs.

    The strategy is to establish Deutsche Post internationally with targeted acquisitions, investments and partnering agreements as well as to steadily expand the market position through integrated services. Deutsche Post starts down the road to becoming the world's number one logistics service provider.

  • © 2000 Deutsche Post AG

    Massive investments in state-of-the-art logistics technology pave the way for faster delivery of letters and parcels throughout Germany. Thanks to reorganization and modernization of production at 33 parcel centers, Deutsche Post is able to significantly speed up the distribution process.

    Another comprehensive, large-scale investment program was aimed at modernizing the infrastructure of the mail centers. When investment was completed in 1998, the network consisted of 83 high-tech production centers.

    A high level of automation and standardization improves service quality and boosts productivity. Mail is one example. While less than 25 percent of letters were sorted by machine in the early 1990s, 90 percent of all items at mail centers are now processed fully automatically. Ninety-five percent of letters posted in Germany before final collection reach their recipient in just one day.

  • © Deutsche Post AG

    The second postal reform, primarily administrative in nature, goes into effect in early 1995 based on the Posts and Telecommunications Reorganization Act. The three companies that emerged from Deutsche Bundespost are converted into stock companies under private law. Although the federal government initially retained all shares, they were gradually offered for sale to private shareholders, with the federal government retaining the majority stake for at least five years.

    The Federal Posts and Telecommunications Agency was founded at the same time. It represents the federal government's interests as a shareholder in the three stock corporations and performs supervisory and coordinating tasks. The federal regulatory tasks that were still necessary were initially assumed by a department in the Federal Posts and Telecommunications Agency (dissolved in 1997). The second postal reform was characterized by privatization and preparation for further liberalization of the postal markets.

    Deutsche Post starts on a course of development that will take it from a loss-making, state-run government agency to a profitable global player and ultimately the world's number one logistics company.

  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    The East German Deutsche Post is incorporated into Deutsche Bundespost.

  • Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst, DBP Postbank and DBP Telekom are established under the first postal reform

    The Law concerning the Structure of Posts and Telecommunications of July 1, 1989, stipulates the restructuring of the former Deutsche Bundespost ("Postal reform I"). The new structure brings about the following organizational and regulatory changes:

    • Separation of Deutsche Bundespost into three sectors - Deutsche Bundespost Postdienst, Deutsche Bundespost Postbank and Deutsche Bundespost Telekom
    • Separation of the regulatory/political area from the managerial/operational area
    • Establishment of management and supervisory boards for the public companies
    • Creation of a Board of Directors to which the management board chairpersons of the three companies belong
    • Establishment of a Council for Infrastructural Matters in the responsible federal ministry
    • Conversion of the companies' customer relationships from public to private law
    • Dissolution of the monopoly on telecommunication terminals
  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    DHL enters into a joint venture with the People's Republic of China, making it the first express company to operate inside of China.

  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    DHL adds parcel delivery to its list of services. Until this time, the company offered delivery of documents only.

  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    DHL expands its network at high speed. Following expansion in the Far East and in the Pacific Rim (1971), DHL also begins offering services in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia (1972) and later in Europe (1974), Latin America (1977), the Middle East and Africa (1978).

  • © Deutsche Post DHL Group

    Just a few months after Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn in San Francisco take a step destined to alter the global economy: In 1969, they founded the company DHL - the three letters stand for the initials of their last names.

    Their new business idea formed the cornerstone for a globally operating enterprise. At first, the company founders personally transported cargo documents from San Francisco to Honolulu by plane. This made it possible to begin customs processing of a ship's cargo before the actual arrival of the shipment, thereby significantly reducing waiting times in the harbor.

    Customers saved a great deal of time as a result. The founding of DHL also represented the creation of a new sector of industry: international air express service - rapid transport of documents and cargo papers by plane.

    DHL became a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Post in 2002.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    Deutsche Reichspost is succeeded by Deutsche Bundespost. As a government agency, Deutsche Bundespost is responsible for national and international postal services and telecommunications. The postal section offers extra services such as the postal giro, savings bank, newspaper, pension payment, broadcasting and bus services.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    Pursuant to the Reichspost Finance Act of March 18, 1924, Deutsche Reichspost comes under the administration of the Reich Ministry of Posts as an independent enterprise.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    Effective administration structures are already an important consideration in 1876 - leading Chancellor Bismarck to unite the post and telegraph administration of the German Empire into one top-level administrative body, the "Reichs-Post und Telegraphenverwaltung," under the direction Heinrich von Stephan. Other reasons for the merger under state control include assertion of the state's sovereignty and control of news communications within the Empire as a fundamental component of national sovereignty as well as ensuring basic, nationwide communication services for the people.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    Initiated by the General Director of Posts of the North German Confederation, Heinrich von Stephan, an international agreement on reciprocal transport of mail is signed by 22 nations on October 9,1874. It was the founding of the "General Postal Union", which would become the Universal Postal Union in 1878.

    Declared a UN specialized agency in 1948, the Universal Postal Union is headquartered in Berne. It promotes international postal services and develops regulations for postal traffic. The Universal Postal Union also assists developing countries in setting up their own efficient postal services. Approximately 6 million postal employees in over 700,000 postal facilities around the world currently provide more than 6 billion people with some 440 billion postal shipments per year.

  • © 2001 Deutsche Post AG

    Marie Mathias Nicolas Louis Danzas, a lieutenant in Napoleon's Grande Armée, enters into the shipping and transport business after the battle of Waterloo. The company in the French Alsace region would soon bear his name and play an active role in the development of rail travel and steam navigation in the 19th century. In 1854, the first consolidated shipments were offered on the Zurich-Basel/St. Louis route.

    Danzas assumes responsibility for international mail on behalf of the Swiss PTT in 1884. Delivery within 24 hours was guaranteed for the route between Switzerland and England.

    Danzas became a part of Deutsche Post in 1999.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    On April 21, 1646, Elector Friedrich Wilhelm issues postal regulations establishing regular postal service between Berlin, Münster, Osnabrück, Kleve and Königsberg. The new decree stems from the Elector's interest in staying well informed of the current status of the peace negotiations in Osnabrück and Münster to end the Thirty Years' War.

    At the same time, the decree grants private individuals (in particular merchants) the right to have their mail transported by the electoral postal system. Friedrich Wilhelm thus ignores the emperor's postal monopoly granted to the Postmaster General of the House of Thurn and Taxis.

  • © Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation

    Franz von Taxis is considered the founder of the modern postal system. On behalf of the far-flung Habsburg family dynasty, he and his successors set up a courier network that would eventually grow to cover all of Western Europe by the mid-16th century.

    Permanent post stations were built about one day's journey apart. Over time, these stations grew into important economic centers, serving as meeting points and places of trade and exchange where travelers could expect to find taverns, inns and stables. Post stations became crucial focal points in the development of villages and cities.