DHL gets its name from the initials of the last names of its three founders; Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn respectively. The company started its operations in 1969 as a service to transport papers by from San Francisco to Honolulu. To do this the founders personally shipped papers through air transport and delivered them as required (cited in www.dhl.com).
This process reduced the waiting time for ships as they began the customs clearance of the ship’s cargo before it actually arrived. The idea of international air express revolutionized the cargo industry as it paved the way for faster delivery of shipments. Within a short span of two years in 1971 the company expanded its operations into the Far East and Pacific Rim. More countries were added to its expansion list year on year. In 1972, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia were added. UK in 1974, Germany and Latin America in 1977, Middle East and Africa in 1978. It brought air cargo services to Eastern European countries in 1983 and became the first express company operating in China in 1986 (cited in www.dhl-usa.com).
At the same time DHL also kept investing in its infrastructure to expand capacity by establishing regional hubs in different places. It establish an international distribution hub at Cincinnati, Ohio in 1983 and another one at Brussels in 1985(cited in www.dhl-usa.com). “By 1988, DHL was already present in 170 countries and had 16,000 employees”(www.dhl.com).
Over the years DHL continued expanding its operations across boundaries and investing in its infrastructure. In the year 2002, DHL was acquired by Deutsche Post World Net. The following year Deutsche Post World Net made DHL a brand for all of its express and logistics activities (cited in www.dhl.com). Deutsche Post World Net also purchased Airborne Express in the United State the very same year and became “the third largest express service provider in the US”(www.dhl-usa.com). In 2005, Deutsche Post World Net added Exel to its DHL operations to further enhance its business operations (cited in www.dhl.com).
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