Menu Close

DHL Shipment On Hold? Here’s What To Do (Answer)


Is there anything worse than waiting for a package to arrive, only to find that it’s on hold with no explanation? 

Sadly, this is an unavoidable occurrence that occasionally happens with DHL shipments. Keep reading if you’d like to know why your DHL shipment is on hold and what you can do about it.

DHL delivery truck, pictured in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Atomic Taco / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0

DHL shipments being on hold can result from closed borders, changed shipping routes, port congestion, bad weather, social unrest, and more. In most cases, DHL holds are resolved within a week. If your DHL shipment is on hold, you can simply wait, contact customer service, research the area where it’s being held, or cancel your order.

This article will discuss what it means when a DHL shipment is on hold. We’ll also go over numerous reasons why this could be the case. Finally, we’ll cover the steps you can take when your DHL shipment is on hold.

What Does It Mean When DHL Shipment Is On Hold?

DHL is short for the three last names of the company’s founders: Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn. The three men founded DHL, which is now a massive logistics company, in 1969. 

The company delivers over 1.5 billion packages each year and serves over 220 territories and countries.

See also  Top 20 Most Dangerous Cities in Virginia: 2023 Stats

When your DHL shipment is on hold, that means it is delayed and won’t arrive when it was originally expected to. In most cases, when a DHL shipment is on hold, it has stopped moving.

The package stays in one place, sometimes due to borders between countries being closed. When DHL cannot get a package through to its destination, it appears as being “on hold.”

Why Is My DHL Shipment On Hold?

As mentioned above, one reason for DHL shipments being on hold is closed borders between countries. However, there are several other possible explanations.

For example, shipping routes may have changed, or congestion problems at ports may have slowed down the shipping process.

DHL may require more information about the person sending the package, and it’s put on hold until that information is obtained. Incomplete package documentation can have the same result.

The package could be held up at customs until there’s a chance for it to be fully inspected.

In some cases, bad weather or natural disasters can cause delays. A lack of available transport, whether that be planes, ships, or trucks, can also lead to your package being on hold.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to wait for a local courier to take over the package. In this case, it’s placed on hold until a courier is able to take charge of it.

Finally, holidays, strikes, and social unrest can cause delays as well.

Generally, the DHL message won’t specify the reason behind your package being on hold. However, if you’re able to see where your package is located currently, you may be able to do some research to figure things out.

See also  Why Are English Bulldogs So Expensive? [11 Reasons 2023]

If you can uncover local news stories from the area, you may be able to find an answer as to why your package is on hold.

How Long Does DHL Shipment On Hold Last?

The length of the hold primarily depends on the reason for the hold. For instance, if there are simply congestion issues, then your package is likely to begin moving again pretty quickly.

DHL Boeing 767 cargo plane taxiing on the runway of Miami International Airport. Photo: Eric Salard / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0

On the other hand, if strikes are the reason behind the delay, your package may be on hold until the strikes are over. 

In general, issues with packages being on hold are resolved within a week.

If your package is on hold for longer than a week, the delivery company will typically figure out an alternative solution so that they can get your package to you within a reasonable timeframe.

If you’ve encountered an especially long hold time, then it’s smart to contact the company and see if they can provide any answers or arrange for an alternative shipping method.

What Do I Do When My DHL Shipment Is On Hold?

Most holds on DHL shipments resolve within a week, so waiting is always an option. However, there are some actions you can take if you’d like to get more information.

1. Contact Customer Service

Your first step will be contacting DHL customer service. You will need to have the tracking number or other shipping reference numbers for your package readily available.

By contacting customer service, you may be able to get more information about the hold and how long your package will be delayed.

See also  Why Are Aluminum Lawn Chairs So Expensive? [6 Reasons 2023]

However, it’s unlikely that you or customer service can take any action that will help the package arrive faster. The reason behind the hold must be addressed, and this can take some time.

2. Research The Area

You can also see where your package is on hold and do some research to see if anything is happening in the area that could have caused the hold.

For example, bad weather or problems with social unrest and strikes may be the reason behind the hold. However, not all explanations will be things you can figure out by doing research.

If waiting for an available courier is the problem at hand, that likely won’t be reported in the news.

3. Cancel Your Order

If your package has been on hold for more than a week and you haven’t been able to get any more information, you might consider canceling your order.

How Long Will DHL Hold A Package?

DHL hold times vary. In most cases, packages are on hold for less than a week.

Depending on the reason behind the hold, it may last for only a day or two, or it could be even more than a week.

There’s very little, if anything, you can do to speed up the process. Unfortunately, whatever caused the hold will need to be addressed.

In some situations, like bad weather, closed borders, and social unrest, the only option is to wait until things resolve.

In other scenarios, such as a need for more information and documentation, your package should be moving along again much sooner since there is a simple solution available.


If your DHL shipment is on hold, there are many possible explanations. Port congestion, closed borders, bad weather, changed shipping routes, social unrest, and other situations may be the reason behind the hold.

The good news is that most DHL holds are resolved within a week. If your DHL shipment is on hold, your best course of action is to wait. You can also contact customer service or do your own research to figure out potential reasons behind the hold. Canceling your order is also an option.