DPD vs. DHL: How to Choose the Best Courier For Your Business

By

Need Help With Order Fulfillment? ShipBob Can Help.

Let’s Talk

Subscribe for More

Enjoying this article? Join the tens of thousands who get the latest from ShipBob’s blog emailed every other week.

With limited time and many options, it can be tempting for ecommerce brands to think that all courier services are more or less the same. 

In reality, even the smallest differences are crucial to finding the best shipping solution for your business.  

Take DPD and DHL. While the names sound similar, these two delivery companies are far from interchangeable. By carefully evaluating the differences in their service offerings, price points, and value-adds, you can determine which is a better fit for your business’s needs. 

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between DPD and DHL, including international coverage, prices, insurance coverage, and more. 

DPD vs. DHL: simplified

Here is a comparison table that outlines the key features and characteristics of each courier:

DPDDHL
What it isEuropean-focused courierMajor courier with a global network
Best For:– Shipments within Europe (especially to/from the UK)

– A single, heavy item 
International shipments, especially those bound outside Europe
– Smaller, lighter packages
Value-Adds– Mobile tracking app
– Customs clearance facilitation
– Accompanied and/or dedicated transport upon request

A breakdown of DPD services

DPD (short for Dynamic Parcel Distribution) is one of the largest and most popular parcel delivery services in Europe. DPD delivers 5.3 million goods every day, and has a solid reputation for being customer-friendly.

Here is some basic information about the shipping giant’s services, offerings, and policies.

International coverage

DPD’s geographical coverage is extensive, with 70,000 pick-up points and drop off parcelshops across Europe alone. Businesses can ship to 230 countries, and choose from a variety of shipping services to find a delivery window that fits their needs. 

ServiceDescriptionShipping Timeline
DPD DirectGround shipping via partnerships with local couriers3-8 business days
DPD Air ClassicAir shipping2-5 business days
DPD ExpressExpedited air shipping1-3 business days
DPD International Mail StandardStandard international shipping specifically for businesses sending 2 kg of mail per dayWithin Europe: 7-14 days To the rest of the world: 14-21 days
DPD International Mail PriorityExpedited international shipping specifically for businesses sending 2 kg of mail per dayWithin Europe: 2-7 days To the rest of the world: 6-10 days

DPD’s international shipping cost includes online tracking, £459.57 of insurance cover, and pick up from the consignor, and allows for DDU and DDP.

Cost per shipment

DPD’s next day delivery cost for 1 kg parcels is £22.23 per consignment for shipping within England, Scotland, and Wales. 

Premium bag for items weighing up to 5kgs:

DPD 10:30£23.47 to £26.99 per parcel
DPD 12:00£16.58 to £20.10 per parcel
DPD Next Day£9.68 to £13.19 per parcel
Saturday and Sunday Surcharge£26.24 to £36.68 per parcel

Parcels – For a single item weighing up to 30kg or up to 1 meter in length:

DPD 10:30£36.04 per consignment (inclusive of first 10kg) + £0.87 per kg
DPD 12:00£29.14 per consignment (inclusive of first 10kg) + £0.87 per kg
DPD Next Day£22.23 per consignment (inclusive of first 10kg) + £0.71 per kg
Saturday and Sunday Surcharge£38.66 per consignment (inclusive of first 10kg) + £0.71 per kg

Freight – for a single item weighing between 31 and 350kg:

DPD 10:30£60.57 per consignment (inclusive of first 31kg) + £0.89 per kg
DPD 12:00£49.36 per consignment (inclusive of first 31kg) + £0.89 per kg 
DPD Next Day£42.46 per consignment (inclusive of first 31kg) + £0.89 per kg
Saturday and Sunday Surcharge£67.67 per consignment (inclusive of first 31kg) + £0.89 per kg
International serviceRates
DPD Air ClassicEuropean destinations: £98.46 to £120.90 (up to 30 kgs), depending on the zone 
Non-European destinations: £54.56 to £79.86 (up to 30 kgs), depending on the zone 

DPD Express
European destinations: £51.23 to £60.54 (up to 0.5 kgs), depending on the zone 
Non-European destinations: £64.11 to £93.99 (up to 0.5 kgs), depending on the zone 

All these rates have been sourced from DPD’s tariff card. Keep in mind that their delivery rates are exempt from VAT when comparing rates with other carriers.

Insurance options

Almost all shipping options offered by DPD offer up to £459.57 of coverage. In case your SKUs are worth more than that, you can opt for higher insurance. This option is available only for contract customers in combination with DPD Classic (by road) and DPD Home.

For DPD Classic, the extended insurance is charged at 1% of the value of goods, offering a maximum cover of £5,000 per consignment, and your business is allowed to add higher insurance to 20 parcels per calendar month.

With DPD Air Classic and DPD Express, the standard liability is $100 per parcel. As with DPD Classic, the insurance for DPD Air Classic and DPD Express can be extended by paying 1% of the value of the consignment.

Delivery policy

Under DPD’s delivery policy, the customer must acknowledge that:

  • DPD will not carry out any age verification upon delivery.
  • DPD cannot deliver to certain addresses, such as PO Boxes or BFPO numbers. 
  • DPD reserves the right to open, inspect, reject and/or destroy any and all Consignments for any reasonable reason (and are not liable for damage incurred during said opening)

DPD may impose additional restrictions or document requirements for shipping goods, depending upon the destination of delivery and/or the service.

For more about this and other policies (including the management of unclaimed and undelivered goods and liability for loss and damage and delay of goods), click here

A breakdown of DHL services

DHL (also known as Deutsche Post DHL Group) is a courier company based in Germany. While DHL also offers some logistics services, their bread and butter remains personal and business shipping, delivering over a billion packages each year to 220 countries. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of DHL’s most important features and services.

International coverage

DHL offers multiple different options for shipping your parcel, each with its own timeline and value-adds. 

ServiceDelivery TimeKey Features
DHL Same Day JetlineDelivery by the end of that business day via airProactive delivery notifications Customs clearance facilitation
Accompanied and/or dedicated transport upon request
DHL Same Day SprintlineDelivery by the end of that business day via groundProactive delivery notifications Customs clearance facilitation
Accompanied and/or dedicated transport upon request
DHL Express 9:00Delivery by 9:00 AM the next possible working dayEnd-to-end tracking
Proactive delivery notifications
Customs clearance facilitation
Money-back guarantee 
DHL Express 10:30(EXPORT ONLY)Delivery by 10:30 AM the next possible working dayEnd-to-end tracking
Proactive delivery notifications
Customs clearance facilitation
Money-back guarantee 
DHL Express 12:00Delivery by 12:00 PM the next possible working dayEnd-to-end tracking
Proactive delivery notifications upon request
Customs clearance facilitation
Money-back guarantee 
DHL Express WorldwideDelivery by the end of the next possible working dayEnd-to-end tracking
Proactive delivery notifications upon request
Customs clearance facilitation
DHL Express Easy(EXPORT ONLY)Delivery by the end of the next possible working dayEnd-to-end tracking
Customs clearance facilitation
DHL Economy SelectDelivery in 1-3 working daysEnd-to-end tracking
Proactive delivery notifications upon request
Customs clearance facilitation

Source: DHL

Cost per shipment

Prices for DHL’s quickest deliveries (Same Day Jetline or Same Day Sprintline) can vary significantly depending on the price of air freight or an airline ticket (in the case of hand-carried items). 

DHL shipments within the UK will generally be cheaper (as these parcels don’t have to travel as far as others). Prices will vary based on which drop-off and delivery option you select. 

Home/Business CollectionDepot to DepotDepot Drop OffDrop at Shop (Service Points)
Standard£10.89£2.79£7.09£7.89
Large £18.89£6.79£13.89
Extra Large£22.89£8.79£17.89

Source: DHL

For international shipments, shipping cost is based on the zone your parcel’s destination is in (with zones determined by DHL), the weight of the goods, and the speed of delivery desired.

ServiceType of Items ShippedCost Range
DHL Express WorldwideDocuments only up to 2 kg
Documents 2.5 kg+ and parcels 0.5kg+
£46.01 — £97.83
£50.86 — £1448.96
DHL Economy SelectDocuments and parcels 1kg+£51.77 — £338.36
DHL Express 9:00 (10:30 to the USA)Shipments up to 3000 kg, or containing pieces up to 1000 kg or 300 cm in lengthDHL Express Worldwide Rate + £20
DHL Express 12:00Shipments up to 3000 kg, or containing pieces up to 1000 kg or 300 cm in lengthDHL Express Worldwide Rate + £5

Source: DHL’s Pricing Guide for 2023

For better high volumes or wholesale shipping rates, you may directly contact the DHL support representatives. 

Insurance options

For shipping insurance, DHL charges £12.00 for any shipment worth up to £800. Beyond that, shipping insurance is 1.5% of shipment value. If you wish to purchase Extended Liability Per shipment, you will need to pay an extra £3.

Delivery policy

  • Shipments cannot be delivered to postal codes, but only to the recipient’s/buyer’s address given by the seller/shipper. 
  • DHL has the right to open and inspect a shipment without notice for safety, security, customs, or other regulatory reasons. 
  • Liability, claims, and shipment value protection are other factors elabourated on within the DHL terms & conditions. This document also highlights the carrier’s delivery expectation policy.

DPD vs. DHL: who to choose

DPD and DHL offer many of the same services, including next day delivery (at multiple different times), air shipping, optional shipping insurance, and tracking capabilities. 

However, depending on what you’re shipping and where you’re shipping to or from, one courier might be a better fit for your business than the other. 

For businesses looking to ship within the UK, or that need to ship a single, heavy item, DPD’s shipping services are usually the most cost-effective.

DHL, on the other hand, is a great choice for brands that need an international courier (especially for shipments bound beyond the UK or Europe), given their global reach and wide variety of express delivery options.

ShipBob connects you with a powerful courier network

ShipBob partners with major couriers to help ecommerce brands all over the world achieve fast, cost-affordable shipping.

Whether your business selects DPD, DHL, or other package delivery services (including Evri [formerly Hermes], Royal Mail, UP, and FedEx), ShipBob’s connections and real-time courier updates can help your brand optimise its last-mile delivery and handle peak shipping seasons with ease.  

To further reduce your shipping times and costs, ShipBob will store your inventory in one or multiple of our 40+ global fulfilment centres (including our UK and European locations). We’ll pick and pack your orders for you, and fulfil each order from the location closest to its destination. 

Brands can even track shipment progress, OTIF rates, average shipping cost, and other shipping KPIs through ShipBob’s analytics dashboard. With real-time visibility into critical delivery management data, you’ll be able to avoid shipping mistakes, curate a better shipping experience for customers, and get back time to focus on growing your business. 

To learn more about ShipBob’s fulfilment and shipping services, request a quote below.

What is the main difference between DPD and DHL?

While DPD and DHL offer a very similar set of shipping services, DPD’s network focuses on the UK and Europe, while DHL has a stronger global presence.

Should consumers use DPD or DHL?

Whether you should use DPD or DHL depends on what you are shipping, where you are shipping from and to, and how much you are willing to spend. 

In general, DPD is a good choice for those looking to ship within the UK, while DHL is great for international shipments. 

However, you should always compare your shipping needs to any courier’s offerings before committing to a single provider. 

What’s the best option for international shipping?

DHL, UPS, and FedEx are some of the more popular cross-border shipping options for retail or wholesale shipping. The best international shipping option for your business will depend on your brand’s unique needs and budget.  

How can I ship internationally and quickly?

Businesses can achieve fast international shipping by storing their inventory in strategic locations to minimise shipping distance, using couriers that offer expedited shipping options, and partnering with a 3PL logistics company to streamline fulfilment and shorten order lead times.

Written By:

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes blog articles, eGuides, and other resources to help small business owners master their logistics.

Read all posts written by Rachel Hand