DHL Shipment On Hold Explained

dhl shipment on hold. how to fix it

Have you received a notification that your DHL shipment is on hold? Seeing that “on hold” status can certainly be worrying. However, there are a variety of reasons your DHL shipment may be delayed, and the hold is often temporary. Read on to find out the most common causes of a DHL shipment being placed on hold and what you can do to get your package moving again.

What Does it Mean When a DHL Shipment is “On Hold”?

Seeing the status “on hold” next to your DHL tracking information can certainly be concerning. However, it simply indicates that your package is being temporarily delayed and that DHL is unable to move your shipment forward at this time.

Although your package is “on hold”, rest assured that your DHL shipment is safe and will resume its journey as soon as possible. An on hold status does not necessarily mean something is wrong with your shipment. It simply indicates there is a temporary delay that is preventing your package from reaching its intended destination.

Some common reasons that a DHL shipment might be placed on hold include:

  • Delay at customs for clearance
  • Missing or incorrect paperwork
  • Port congestion
  • Natural disasters/severe weather
  • Temporary closure of a DHL facility

While it’s understandably frustrating to see your package delayed, try not to worry too much if your DHL shipment is on hold. The situation is usually resolved within a few days. Continue reading to learn why packages get held up and what you can do to get your shipment moving again quickly.

Common Reasons a DHL Shipment Gets Put on Hold

There are a variety of reasons why your DHL shipment may be temporarily placed on hold. Here are some of the most common causes:

Delay at Customs for Clearance

One of the most frequent reasons for a DHL shipment hold is that the package is awaiting customs clearance. All international shipments must pass through customs before continuing to their final destination.

Shipments may be held up at customs while officials inspect the package and verify all accompanying paperwork, such as the commercial invoice, bill of lading, and packing list. If any required information is missing or inaccurate, the customs clearance process will be delayed.

DHL has no control over how long customs takes to clear a package. But most shipments pass through within 1-3 days. If your shipment remains on hold with customs for over a week, you may need to contact DHL to investigate.

Issues with Paperwork

In addition to customs delays, incorrect or incomplete paperwork can also cause your DHL shipment to be placed on hold.

International shipments require several key documents like a commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading. If any paperwork is missing, has errors, or lacks sufficient details, then both customs and DHL will be unable to process your shipment.

Double check that you have included all necessary paperwork and that the details like addresses, product descriptions, and quantities are accurate. If anything seems amiss, promptly reach out to DHL and they can advise you on fixing any issues.

Port Congestion

If your DHL package is shipping overseas, it may need to pass through congested ports which can cause delays. Port congestion occurs when a port receives more container ship traffic than it can efficiently handle. This frequently happens after holidays when import volumes spike.

When ports become severely congested, containers and cargo can sit for days or weeks waiting to be offloaded from ships. This trickle down effect slows the entire supply chain, often causing packages to be held up.

DHL has no control over port congestion. If your package seems stalled, contact DHL to see if port congestion is the cause of the shipment hold.

Natural Disasters or Other Disruptions

Adverse weather events or other disruptions like civil unrest can sometimes cause DHL shipments to be placed on hold.

Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, or severe winter storms may force DHL to temporarily suspend delivery services in affected regions. If a shipment was in transit when the disruption occurred, DHL will likely put the package on hold until operations resume.

It’s frustrating but unavoidable when unforeseen circumstances delay package delivery. DHL will be unable to deliver your shipment until the situation has improved and their couriers can safely access the area again.

How to Check the Status of Your DHL Shipment

If you receive notice that your DHL shipment is on hold, the first step is checking your tracking information for more details on the status.

Visit the DHL website or mobile app and enter your tracking number. This will show you the most up-to-date information on your package’s location and status. The tracking history usually provides info on why DHL has put your shipment on hold.

For example, the tracking details may show the hold is due to “clearance delay” or “weather disruption.” This info can help you better understand the reason for the delay.

If the tracking status simply says “on hold” without any additional details, you may need to contact DHL directly to find out why your package is being held. Their customer service team can investigate and provide specifics on your shipment status.

Steps to Take if Your DHL Package is on Hold

Seeing that frustrating “on hold” tracking status undoubtedly leaves you wondering what comes next. Here are some steps you can take when your DHL shipment is placed on hold:

Contact DHL Customer Service

Your first step when dealing with an on hold package should always be to reach out to DHL customer support.

Either call DHL directly or access their live chat feature online. Explain your situation and provide the tracking number. The DHL team can then look into your shipment status and explain specifically why it has been held.

If the hold is due to missing paperwork or incorrect addresses, the DHL customer service reps can help you resolve the issues so your package can get moving again.

Double Check Paperwork

If your DHL shipment is held up due to customs or paperwork issues, carefully re-review all documents. Double check that you have a complete, accurate commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading.

Verify all product details, addresses, and other key information match on the paperwork and shipping label. Having inaccurate or contradictory details is one of the main reasons shipments get held in transit. Catching any errors early on can help avoid lengthy delays.

Be Patient

As frustrating as it is, sometimes all you can do is wait patiently for the delay to resolve. If your package is held up due to natural disasters, port congestion, or customs backlogs, there is unfortunately no immediate fix.

But don’t stress too much. The majority of shipment holds due to weather or import delays last 3 days or less. Avoid constantly pestering DHL for status updates during short holds. Instead, focus your efforts on more constructive solutions.

Change Delivery Address

One option if your package is held up overseas is to change the delivery address to a location in a different region. For example, if your shipment is stuck due to port congestion, request to have it delivered to a alternate address located closer to the origin country. It can then bypass the clogged ports altogether.

Just keep in mind this is only helpful if the address change gets your package around the obstacle that created the hold in the first place. Check with DHL to see if an address change could help expedite delivery.

Pick Up Package in Person

Finally, you may be able to save time and get your package more quickly by picking it up in person. DHL has retail locations worldwide where you can retrieve your shipment once available rather than waiting for standard delivery.

Contact DHL to see if a hold-for-pickup option is available. This allows you to personally collect your package when ready rather than continuing to wait on delivery. However, in-person pickup is typically only possible if you are located near the DHL facility where your shipment is currently being held.

When to Worry About a Shipment on Hold

In most cases, a DHL shipment hold is nothing to panic over. Many holds last just a few business days before the package gets cleared to continue its route.

However, there are certain circumstances when an on hold status warrants concern:

  • The hold has lasted over 2 weeks with no updates from DHL
  • DHL is unable to provide details on the reason for the hold
  • You have verified paperwork is accurate but the package remains stuck in customs
  • The delivery delay has now impacted extremely time sensitive contents

Use your best judgment on when an on hold shipment goes from temporarily delayed to a more worrisome level. If you feel your package has been stuck in limbo for an unreasonable amount of time, don’t hesitate to politely escalate your concerns with DHL customer service.

While DHL may not be able to directly resolve external issues holding up your delivery, they should still actively communicate with you on the status. Persistent holds with no explanations from DHL are not normal and justify escalation.

How to Avoid DHL Shipment Holds

While you can’t prevent every potential shipment delay, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a DHL hold:

  • Provide complete, accurate paperwork – Double check all documents and data provided to DHL during booking. Inaccurate addresses and product details are common reasons for stuck shipments.
  • Ship with priority services – Upgrading to DHL Express shipping options can help packages clear customs faster, reducing chances of a hold.
  • Avoid peak seasons – If possible, avoid shipping right before holidays and other peak times when customs delays are most likely.
  • Confirm ports are not congested – When shipping overseas, research which ports your shipment will route through. Avoid booking through jammed up ports prone to long delays.
  • Pack strategically – Use quality shipping materials and optimal box sizes. Poor packaging leads to damaged goods which can cause whole shipments to be held.

With preparation and planning, you can minimize unnecessary DHL shipment holds. But the occasional delay may still occur despite your best efforts. By understanding the common causes and smart resolution tactics, you can overcome frustrating on hold situations with minimal hassle.

FAQs About DHL Shipments on Hold

How long will my DHL shipment be on hold?

Most DHL shipment holds last between 1-5 days. Short delays for customs clearance or inspections are generally resolved within this timeframe. Longer holds of 1-3+ weeks typically only occur due to major issues like natural disasters.

What does “In Transit – On Hold” mean for DHL?

This status means your DHL shipment has been stopped or delayed while in transit to the delivery address. It is no longer making progress towards its destination and is waiting for an issue to be resolved before resuming movement.

Why would DHL put a package on hold?

Common reasons are customs delays, missing/incorrect paperwork, port congestions, hazardous weather events, or other unpredictable disruptions. DHL has no choice but to hold packages when circumstances outside their control prevent shipments from moving forward.

Can I pick up my package from a DHL facility if it’s on hold?

You typically can schedule an in-person pickup if your held package has reached your nearest DHL facility. However, if it is still held up in transit far away from your location, picking it up yourself may not be possible. Check with DHL to see if pickup is available.

How do I contact DHL about an on hold shipment?

You can call DHL customer service or access their live online chat to inquire about a package on hold. Provide the shipment tracking number and details on your situation. DHL can look into the status and provide guidance on next steps.

Key Takeaways

  • Seeing a “shipment on hold” notice can be worrying but these delays are usually temporary.
  • Customs clearance, paperwork issues, weather disruptions, and port congestion are common reasons for DHL holds.
  • Check your DHL tracking number for status updates and contact customer service if needed.
  • Be patient for short holds. For extended delays, consider changing the delivery address or picking up at a DHL facility.
  • With preparation, accurate paperwork, and strategic shipping choices, you can reduce chances of frustrating holds.

A DHL shipment hold is rarely cause for serious concern. While any delay can be aggravating, most on hold situations are resolved relatively promptly. By understanding why packages get put on hold and how to respond effectively, you can overcome these hurdles and keep your deliveries moving.

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