Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

Top delivery companies in Germany for best solutions

R. Lee
by Rose Lee

Content Writer

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Fast and reliable shipping ensures a positive customer experience and leaves a lasting impression on customers. Choosing the right parcel service provider is, therefore, essential for the long-term success of your e-commerce business. But which parcel services are there anyway? And which provider suits your business best? We introduce you to the six largest parcel services in Germany and reveal what distinguishes them.

Overview of the shipping market in Germany: top parcel services and Customer requirements

Online trading is booming. And Germany has long since been caught up in this upward trend: B2C e-commerce sales in 2020 were around 73 billion euros. This means an increase of 23 percent compared to the previous year (Ecommerce Germany News). The corona pandemic is also considered to be an amplifier of this trend. Due to the closed stationary trade as well as distance rules and the obligation to wear masks, more and more people are making their purchases on the Internet. Younger generations, in particular, are showing a change in behavior.

As a result, the number of parcel shipments is also increasing every year as a result of the increased online purchases: According to the KEP study 2021 by the Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik (BIEK), the volume of shipments in Germany broke the 4 billion mark for the first time in 2020. That means: On average, more than 13 million items were sent every day.

The driving force for this high shipment growth is primarily B2C shipments. These were able to record growth of 18.6 percent in 2020. And there is still no end in sight: by 2025, a general shipment volume of around 5.7 billion shipments per year is forecast.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is everything in e-commerce. The more conveniently consumers can shop online, the higher the conversion rates and, thus, the sales. In addition to the quality, the delivery of the product is particularly important for the buying experience.

Surveys of online shoppers speak for themselves: 68% of online shoppers cancel the purchase at the checkout if the shipping costs are too high, and 23% because of previous negative experiences with a certain parcel service provider. 78% of customers expect a delivery time of 2 to 3 days; 74% reject costs for returns in principle. Many online retailers apparently underestimate the potential of a flexible delivery option: Because 71% of online customers would like to be able to choose between different parcel service providers when shopping, but only 1 in 5 e-commerce companies fulfill this wish.

Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

DHL

The logistics and shipping company, founded in San Francisco in 1969, has belonged to Deutsche Post AG since 2002. It owes its name to the three founders, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn: the first letters of their surnames result in the company name DHL.

The company is the largest parcel service in Germany and operates in more than 220 countries worldwide. DHL stands for reliable shipping and fair prices. The service provider based in Bonn was also rated as the best parcel service in Germany in a study by the German Institute for Service Quality and received the rating «good».

With around 29,000 locations in Germany, DHL has a particularly dense network of packing stations, post offices, and parcel shops. This makes sending and collecting parcels even easier. From 200 shipments a year, business customers at DHL benefit from professional shipping and a comprehensive range of services.

Does DHL offer CO2 Neutral Options?

Yes, Deutsche Post DHL aims to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050. Among other things, the Go Green environmental protection program offsets the greenhouse gasses produced.

How many pick-up points does DHL have in Germany?

29,000 locations in Germany Packstation, Post office branch, DHL Paketshop or «Paketbox».

International focus

Strong international focus and global expertise.

What are the advantages of using Deutsche Post DHL in Germany?

  • Wide range of services.
  • Every parcel is insured for up to €500.
  • Shipment tracking.
  • Choice between:
  • slow & cheap;
  • fast & expensive.
  • Attractive for fast-growing and internationally active companies, according to DHL.
  • «Warenpost» has been part of DHL's service since last year. This allows small goods (max. 5 cm x 25 cm x 35.3 cm) to be sent quickly (usually next-day delivery) and efficiently.

What are some of the disadvantages of using DHL in Germany?

  1. Assistance with problems and individual cases is often lengthy and slow.
  2. Prices often complicated.

Shipping with DHL:

  • wide range of services and shipping solutions for various goods;
  • flexible receipt of parcels with DHL with delivery services;
  • Germany-wide shipping and worldwide shipping to 220 countries - also on Saturdays;
  • climate-friendly shipping with GoGreen;
  • parcel notification to recipients by email;
  • also offers express delivery.

What are the delivery methods and services of DHL in Germany?

Delivery methods of DHL, among others are:

  • DHL International Express
  • DHL Euro Plus
  • DHL Sameday Jetline
  • DHL Sameday Sprintline
  • DHL Express 9:00/10:30/12:00
  • DHL Express Worldwide
  • DHL Express Easy
  • DHL Warenpost.

Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

Hermes

The shipping service provider based in Hamburg was founded in 1972 and belongs to the Otto Group. Hermes is the second largest parcel service in Germany and has over 16,000 parcel shops nationwide. From 300 shipments per year, Hermes also offers its service to business customers.

The focus is primarily on Europe: Hermes ships to more than 20 EU countries. International shipping for e-commerce retailers is possible with the range of services from Hermes BorderGuru.

When shipping with Hermes, shipment tracking and transport insurance of €500 are included for all packages. The service provider goes to great lengths to ensure successful delivery to the recipient: Four delivery attempts are made throughout Germany, and three delivery attempts are always made internationally.

However, there are points deducted in the area of ​​climate neutrality: Under the motto «WE DO! CO2-neutral delivery», offers Hermes customers the opportunity to offset the emissions caused by transport. However, this initiative only applies to the shipping of furniture and large appliances with the Hermes furnishing service. Compared to other service providers, Hermes is less advanced in this area.

Does Hermes offer CO2 Neutral options in Germany?

Hermes's initiative to act in an environmentally friendly way was launched in 2010 under the name «Hermes – WE DO!»

Does Hermes ship outside of the EU?

Shipping to countries outside the EU (with the exception of the UK) is not possible with Hermes, but the parcel carrier is one of the most popular delivery companies in the UK. It is, therefore, true that Hermes is a strong player within Europe, while there are no offers beyond that area.

How many pick-up points does Hermes have in Germany?

There are 16,000 parcel shops in Germany.

What are the advantages of Hermes for e-commerce fulfillment in Germany?

  • 95% of all incoming packages are delivered in the domestic market on the very next day.
  • Every parcel is insured up to an amount of €500.
  • Shipment tracking.
  • B2B service from 300 shipments p.a. at attractive prices.
  • Especially attractive for smaller online retailers.
  • 1st place in the price-performance category for courier, express, and parcel service providers.

What are the main disadvantages of using Hermes for e-commerce parcel delivery?

  • Parcels are relatively often returned without successful delivery.
  • Only EU-wide shipping + the UK.
  • Not the optimal shipping solution for large, internationally active e-commerce companies.
  • Bringing up the rear in climate-neutral shipping.

Shipping with Hermes:

  • individual shipping solutions as required:
  • more than 16,000 parcel shops in Germany;
  • up to 4 delivery attempts;
  • requested delivery enables flexible parcel reception;
  • shipment tracking and package notification included;
  • europe-wide shipping to over 20 countries, international shipping with Hermes BorderGuru;
  • delivery is usually the next working day.

Hermes delivery methods and services

Among others, Hermes is offering:

  • Hermes NextDay.
  • Hermes International.
  • Hermes BorderGuru (cross-border e-commerce service).

Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

UPS

The US parcel service is one of the largest shipping service providers worldwide and is also well-networked internationally due to its global activities. The company was founded in Seattle in 1907 under the name American Messenger Company. It was only later that the company was renamed United Parcel Service.

Today, the Atlanta-based parcel service operates in more than 220 countries around the world. In Germany, UPS offers around 5,000 pick-up points. With this shipping service provider, business customers benefit from fast shipping within Europe and flexible delivery options for recipients. With the «carbon neutral» option, climate-neutral shipping is only possible for an additional charge.

Express delivery

Fast solution with UPS Express.

CO2 Neutral Options

Like almost all companies in this sector, UPS is also increasingly focusing on climate neutrality. For this purpose, the UPS Foundation was established; however, the company is still lagging behind its competitors. UPS's climate-neutral shipping comes with a flat rate surcharge of 12 cents.

Pick-up points

Approx. 5,000 parcel shops in Germany.

International focus

With 807 different airports served, UPS has a strong network around the world. Especially for exports to the USA, the parcel delivery company is ahead of its competitors. However, as their focus lies on the American market, their shipping services within Europe are not as compelling as some of the competitors' offerings.

Advantages

  • Fast delivery.
  • Reliable delivery.
  • Shipment tracking.
  • Each package is insured for up to €510.

Disadvantages

  • Additional costs for delivery on Saturdays.
  • Focus on the US market.
  • Comparatively few pick-up points.

Delivery methods and services

Among others:

  • UPS Express Critical – International.
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus.
  • UPS Worldwide Express Shipping.
  • UPS Worldwide Saver, UPS Next Day Air.
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air.
  • UPS Standard.

Shipping with UPS:

  • strong international focus;
  • worldwide shipping to more than 220 countries;
  • delivery is also on Saturdays (currently in 8 European countries);
  • delivery notification and flexible delivery options;
  • express delivery;
  • climate-neutral shipping for an additional charge.

Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

DPD

The parcel service provider was founded in 1976 as DPD Deutscher Paketdienst and is now part of the French company La Poste. After the takeover, the company was renamed Dynamic Parcel Distribution in 2008.

DPD has its German headquarters in Aschaffenburg and operates around 7,000 parcel shops across the country. From 10 shipments per month, business customers can send their parcels with DPD. The provider scores with attractive shipping prices and fast delivery times. The range of services includes standard and express packages and offers individual shipping solutions for all requirements.

In addition to shipping throughout Germany, DPD is also active in more than 230 countries worldwide. Since 2012, all packages have also been sent in a climate-neutral manner - without additional costs for customers.

Does DPD offer express delivery?

DPD offers in Germany both national and international express services.

Is DPD considered CO2 Neutral?

Under the name «Driving Change», DPD has established a group-wide strategy for sustainable development within the company. Since 2012, DPD has been shipping 100% climate-neutral.

How many pick-up points does DPD have in Germany?

DPD has 7,000 parcel shops in Germany.

Does DPD offer international shipping?

Yes, with DPD, it is possible to ship to certain countries outside the EU, such as the USA. But the focus is clearly on shipping within Europe.

What are the main advantages of DPD in Germany?

  • Simple pricing policy (5 price classes depending on the longest and shortest side of the parcel, but not on weight).
  • Each parcel is insured for up to €520.
  • Shipment tracking.
  • Comparatively fast delivery for standard shipping.
  • The front-runner in climate-neutral shipping.
  • What is the main disadvantage of DPD in Germany?
  • The main disadvantage of DPD for deliveries in Germany is the high additional costs for delivery on Saturdays.

Shipping with DPD:

  • Live tracking and delivery notification.
  • Desired delivery for more flexibility.
  • Delivery in Germany in 1-2 working days.
  • Climate-neutral shipping since 2012.
  • Express delivery at national and international levels.
  • Europe-wide shipping to 37 countries, worldwide shipping to more than 230 countries.

What delivery methods and services does DPD offer?

DPD offers, among others:

  • DPD Air Classic.
  • DPD Air Express.
  • DPD PickUp 24.
  • DPD PickUp Express.
  • DPD PickUp Classic.

Delivery companies in Germany: best logistics solutions

GLS

Founded in 1989, the parcel service was initially known under the name German Parcel. After being taken over by the British Royal Mail, GLS now stands for General Logistics Systems and is headquartered in the Netherlands.

With around 6,000 parcel shops, the logistics company is one of the largest parcel services in Germany. The focus is on national shipping and shipments within Europe: GLS offers delivery throughout Germany within 24 hours. For parcel shipments within the EU, the delivery window is between 24 and 96 hours. But worldwide shipping to more than 160 countries is also possible with GLS – also as express shipping.

With a shipment volume of 250 packages or more, business customers can use the various GLS shipping methods. Since 2019, the delivery service has also been sending all parcels 100% climate-neutral. Another plus point: Security is a top priority at GLS, which is why all shipments are insured up to €750.

Does GLS offer express delivery in Germany?

Yes, customers can use their ExpressParcel service to send parcels in the fastest way possible.

Is GLS climate-neutral in Germany?

Since 2019, GLS Germany has been delivering all parcels 100% climate-neutral, both nationally and internationally. Further measures are being taken as part of the GLS KlimaProtect initiative.

How many pick-up points does GLS offer in Germany?

There are 5.500 parcel shops in Germany.

International focus

Not the best international network (delivery to «only» 23 countries in the EU + the USA and Canada).

Does GLS ship internationally?

Yes, GLS delivers to 23 countries in the EU + the USA, and Canada

What are the advantages of using GLS for e-commerce deliveries in Germany?

  • Simple pricing policy (depending on the weight).
  • Each parcel is insured for up to €750 (€250 more than most competitors).
  • Shipment tracking.
  • Reliable shipping.
  • Fast shipping (usually under 24h in Germany & 24h – 96h within the EU).

What are some of the disadvantages of GLS?

  • Saturday delivery is only in a few metropolitan areas.
  • Not an optimal solution for e-commerce retailers with large shipping volumes.

Shipping with GLS:

  • Delivery notification and choice of delivery options.
  • Variety of services can be booked.
  • Industry-specific shipping solutions.
  • 100% climate-neutral shipping since 2019.
  • Liability up to €750.
  • National and worldwide shipping to more than 160 countries.

What services does GLS offer?

Among others, services include:

  • GLS BusinessParcel.
  • GLS EuroBusinessParcel.
  • GLS ExpressParcel.
  • GLS FlexDeliveryService.

How to choose the optimal shipping carrier?

Reliable Shipping services with high first-delivery attempt performance rates are critical for any business with products to ship. Thanks to the growing importance of e-commerce business, and the spike in online orders, most shippers now use multiple carriers to manage capacity. This, coupled with a growing number of competitors to choose from, means that selecting a shipping provider is something shippers have to do more and more often, just as it becomes harder to choose between them. What should you consider when you choose a shipping carrier?

Shipping abroad: special features & tips

When sending parcels abroad, parcel services usually cooperate with delivery partners whose quality Germans can hardly judge. For example, if you send a parcel to France with DHL, La Poste will deliver it there. In France, Hermes cooperates with Mondial Relay, DPD with Chronopost, and GLS and UPS have their own delivery networks.

Therefore, ask the recipient which parcel service they prefer. If the recipient names a state postal company such as La Poste, Correos or Royal Mail, please send the package in Germany with DHL. DHL usually hands over the package to the state post office in the recipient country.

Within the EU, we advise against shipping with Hermes because, in our opinion, shipment tracking is insufficient. In addition, the delivery speed from Hermes to some countries is significantly longer than, for example, from DHL, DPD, GLS, or UPS.

Outside the EU, DHL and Hermes Borderguru (worldwide.borderguru.com) are recommended because customs formalities can be completed by entering them online. DPD and GLS do not offer shipping to countries outside the EU for private customers. It is possible with DHL Express and UPS, but you, as the sender, must create a commercial invoice.

Parcel services in Germany: The right provider for your business

As you can see, there is a large selection of parcel services in Germany. It is best for you to decide for yourself which provider best meets your requirements. One thing is certain: With the right parcel service provider, you can offer consumers a positive shopping experience and significantly increase customer satisfaction. This also affects the growth of your e-commerce business in the long term. So don't put off this decision for too long!

Choosing the right shipping carrier

When you ship your products, you need to ensure they travel safely to their next destination. After all, shipping damages and costs can add up quickly, so you need to choose a reliable shipping carrier for your business. To help with this process, you can use these tips for choosing the right shipping carrier for your needs.

Reliability

When choosing a shipping carrier, you need to uate the reliability of the company. A great way to determine the reliability of a carrier is to look at the level of service rates, also known as the LOS rates.

Costs and Services

Another factor you need to consider when choosing a shipping carrier is cost. While it is tempting to choose the cheapest carrier, this usually isn't the best option for your business.

Shipping Destinations

If you need to ship your products internationally, you need to choose a carrier that offers this service. While you can use multiple carriers for your shipments, it is a lot easier for a business to use one instead of juggling multiple shipping companies. When you choose a shipping company, make sure they deliver to all your destinations.

Types of Products

Before you choose a carrier, you need to take the types of products you sell into consideration. If your products are hazardous or fragile, for example, then you want to ensure that the carrier will ship these types of items. In fact, some carriers refuse to ship items that are too fragile or expensive.

Carrier's Reputation

A carrier's reputation is generally a great way to determine if the shipping company is right for your business. If a company has a bad reputation, it's probably best to search for alternative options. A bad reputation indicates that the shipping company does not provide quality, reliable service for their clients.

Tracking Services

Many customers enjoy tracking their packages, so businesses often choose shipping carriers that offer tracking services. These tracking services allow the customers to know their packages' locations, estimated delivery times, and delays.

Delivery Times

Today, customers expect fast shipping and reliable delivery times. In fact, fast shipping and delivery times can help your business retain old clients and acquire new leads. However, you need to ensure that your business can provide these fast and reliable shipping services for your customers.

Level of Service

Various shipping carriers offer different levels of service. If you want a hands-off approach to your shipping, then you need to find a company that will take care of all your shipping needs. However, you need to find a carrier that is willing to work with your business and your shipping preferences if you want a more hands-on approach.

Conclusion

In this compact overview of the best parcel delivery companies in Germany, you can quickly and easily identify the differences between the various providers. You can best decide which features of the couriers are most important for your webshop and your customers. Whether the market leadership of DHL, the price-performance ratio of Hermes, the speed and customer focus of DPD, the expertise in e-commerce of GLS, or the experience of UPS are the decisive factors, we wish you every possible success with your decision.

FAQ

Are there special parcel delivery services in Germany that offer discounts or special rates for businesses?

Yes, specific parcel delivery services exist in Germany that provide discounts or special rates to enterprises. DHL, UPS, Hermes, and GLS are examples of these services. These providers frequently offer business-specific solutions, such as lower bulk shipping rates, specialist account managers, and customized shipping solutions. It is essential to contact these package delivery companies directly to inquire about their business solutions and compare costs and services to find the best fit for your company's needs.

Is it possible to track parcels sent through different parcel delivery services in Germany?

Yes, items shipped through various parcel delivery providers in Germany can be tracked. Most parcel delivery providers assign a tracking number to each shipment, which can be used to trace the parcel's journey and present location. Typically, you may monitor the parcel online using the service provider's website or a dedicated tracking platform. Furthermore, some delivery firms include smartphone apps that allow you to track your packages while on the road.

Are there parcel delivery services in Germany that specialize in international shipping?

Yes, there are parcel delivery services in Germany that specialize in international shipping. Some of these include DHL, UPS, FedEx, and TNT. These companies have extensive networks and experience in shipping parcels to various countries around the world. They offer a range of services such as express shipping, customs clearance assistance, and tracking options specifically designed for international shipments. It is recommended to compare the services and rates of different providers to find the best option for your international shipping needs.

What is the average delivery time for parcels in Germany?

The average delivery time for parcels in Germany can vary depending on the specific parcel delivery service and the destination within Germany. Generally, domestic shipments within Germany can take anywhere from 1 to 3 business days for standard delivery. However, express or priority shipping options may be available that offer faster delivery times, often within 1 business day. It is important to note that these are average delivery times and actual delivery times may vary depending on factors such as the nature of the shipment, the distance it needs to travel, and any unforeseen circumstances.

How can the safety and security of parcels be ensured when using parcel delivery services in Germany?

There are a few things you may do to protect your packages while using German parcel delivery services:Pick a package service that has been around for a while and has a good reputation. Use only reputable, established companies with a proven record of safe and timely delivery.

Make sure your things are well-protected in transit by using sturdy packing. Pack and mark any fragile or expensive things carefully.

Consider getting insurance for your packages in case of damage or loss, and invest in tracking capabilities. If the delivery provider offers a tracking feature, use it to keep tabs on your package.

Give precise and comprehensive details: Verify that the address and contact details provided are correct before sending anything. If the package needs to be returned, please include your return address.

Fifth, take use of optional extra safeguards such as demanding a recipient's signature or other form of identity upon delivery. Taking these precautions can make it more likely that the package will reach its destination.

Immediately contact the delivery provider to report any difficulties and get them resolved if you experience any or suspect any throughout the delivery process.

Keep in mind that while these measures will undoubtedly improve your packages' security, you can never completely eliminate the risks associated with shipping and delivery.

Do parcel service providers in Germany offer any additional services, such as insurance or packaging assistance?

Yes, parcel service providers in Germany often offer additional services to enhance the convenience and security of their customers' shipments. Some of these services may include:

1. Insurance: Many parcel service providers offer insurance options to protect your shipments against loss or damage during transit. You can typically purchase insurance coverage based on the value of your items.

2. Packaging assistance: Some providers may offer packaging assistance, where they can provide guidance on how to properly package your items to ensure they are secure during transit. They may also offer packaging supplies for purchase.

3. Express or priority shipping: Most parcel service providers offer expedited shipping options for time-sensitive deliveries. These services usually come with faster delivery times and additional tracking features.

4. Collection and drop-off points: Parcel delivery services often have a network of collection and drop-off points throughout Germany. This allows you to conveniently drop off or collect your parcels from designated locations, such as parcel lockers or retail outlets.

5. Customs documentation assistance: For international shipments, parcel service providers can often assist with customs documentation requirements, ensuring that your parcels comply with international customs regulations.

It's important to check with the specific parcel service provider for the full range of services they offer, as well as any associated costs or limitations.

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