DHL Shipment On Hold – Meaning, Causes, & Solution

A DHL shipment on hold is an update many customers come across when their shipment is no longer moving. This usually happens when an issue is encountered during delivery.

When you get this update, it is quite normal to feel confused and frustrated. However, you do not necessarily need to fret about this issue, as the shipment will eventually be delivered regardless.

In this article, I will discuss the DHL update “shipment on hold,” its meaning, its causes, and what you should do about it.

What does DHL shipment on hold mean?

If you come across this update, it simply implies that your shipment delivery will be delayed. This usually happens when there is an issue with the shipment itself, or there is an issue while the shipment is in transit, e.g., customs clearance.

Why is your DHL shipment on hold?

Because this update does not hold any further explanation, one might be confused. I will outline why your shipment may be on hold in this section.

1. Incomplete documentation

One of the most common reasons for a package to be on hold is incomplete documentation. Perhaps during the customs clearance process, the customs officer notices that one of the documents for the shipment is not present.

It is also possible that the label for the package is damaged and the address is not visible enough. DHL will have to put the shipment on hold until they can rectify or fix the issue.

2. Poor weather conditions

DHL tries to deliver packages in sunny and rainy weather, but some conditions are impossible. Some weather conditions are too dangerous and affect the delivery process. For example;

  • Tornados or hurricane
  • Snowstorm
  • Earthquakes
  • The road is full of debris
  • Flood, etc.

3. Social unrest

There are cases where delivery is put on hold due to social unrest. Perhaps a large-scale protest is ongoing, and the driver deems it unsafe to carry on the delivery. When cases like this arise, the driver will have to wait until it is safer to carry on.

4. Congestion at the port

When a shipment moves from one country to another by sea, it is received at the port or docks. It will have to be scanned and sorted for trucks heading to various destinations in that country.

If the port is congested, it may be placed on hold as DHL cannot determine when the delivery will commence.

5. Lack of available transportation

It is also possible that your shipment is placed on hold because there is no available vehicle to continue delivery. Particularly, during festive periods, the number of packages to be delivered may be overwhelming.

Due to the limited number of vehicles available, the shipment will be placed on hold until a driver and vehicle are available.

6. Holiday

DHL doesn’t deliver on holidays as drivers will not be available to complete the delivery. It could also be that there is a holiday being observed that you aren’t aware of. The shipment will have to be held until after the holiday.

What can you do to get your shipment moving again?

There is nothing you can do to get your shipping moving. Whatever is causing the delay has to be addressed by DHL itself and may be done quickly or take some time.

Even if your help is needed, like in the case of incomplete documentation, DHL should be in contact. They should provide appropriate information on the document needed and how to get it.

You can still contact DHL customer care for updates on your shipment. With any luck, they should be able to give you relevant information about your shipment.


Should you worry if your DHL shipment is on hold?

No, you should not. As I mentioned, most of these issues are addressed, and delivery will commence in no time.

How long is a DHL shipment on hold?

The time a shipment is placed on hold varies depending on the reason. Some may take just a day, and some take longer, for example, customs clearance.

Why is your DHL shipment on hold?

This could be because of natural causes such as bad weather conditions or natural disasters. It could also be because the shipment document is incomplete and has been held in customs.


The DHL shipment on hold update means that your shipment’s delivery has been halted for a while. This is usually because a minor issue has been encountered.

It is not an issue and is usually resolved in less than a day. But it might also take longer in severe situations, such as customs clearance. Whatever the case is, contacting DHL can help you get more information on your shipment.

I hope you found this article helpful, if you did, you should also see this article on customs clearance and what to do when your shipment is held in customs.

Thanks for reading.