Smart transportation: DHL Express continues to innovate

We are sending and receiving ever more parcels, but those delivery vans bringing packages to your doorstep are obviously bad news for our already-clogged city streets. To deliver orders faster and in a more sustainable way, DHL Express continues to experiment with surprising innovations. Read on to discover some of our most unique means of transport.

By land

DHL’s mission is simple: delivering parcels all over the world, as fast as we can. To make this happen – and to contribute to a healthier environment while we’re at it – we are investing heavily in sustainable and ‘city-proof’ transport solutions. Take the example of Deutsche Post DHL Group in Germany, which has the largest fleet of electrical vehicles, including e-bikes and e-trikes. And did you know that DHL Group has been manufacturing its own electrical vehicles since 2014?

To cover short distances and to get around in car-free city centers, cargo bikes are rapidly gaining popularity among our couriers. The cubicycle is a familiar sight in the streets of both the Netherlands and Belgium (Antwerp, to be precise). These DHL cargo bikes pull smart, pallet-sized containers that are preloaded in a DHL service center before being delivered by bicycle.

By sea

Perhaps not exactly ‘by sea’, but definitely across the water: in the Netherlands, DHL Express transports parcels across the canals of Amsterdam. While delivery vans and bikes are struggling through the city’s narrow streets, the DHL boat just ‘goes with the flow’. This solution is not only environmentally friendlier, but – all things considered – it’s much more efficient as well.

By air

When it comes to speedy deliveries, drones and helicopters are hard to beat. Yet to get orders to your doorstep, drones deliveries are not (yet) an option. DHL has been finetuning this delivery method for years and it’s already perfectly possible to move parcels from packstation to packstation with the help of drones, with a maximum distance of eight kilometers. In the years to come, drones will surely be able to do much more, but for now neither the technology nor the legislation have advanced far enough yet. To be continued!

In the meantime, DHL is also experimenting with helicopters. In London, we have launched a helicopter service between the airport and the business district, speeding up deliveries to the United States, for instance. According to DHL’s European chief executive John Pearson, the helicopter service is so much more than a marketing gimmick: “Cutting the travel time from the airport translates into a full day’s saving. A document can be sent from Chicago and be in London by 2pm the next day.”