DHL Shipment On Hold: Step-by-Step Action Plan

When you use an expedited courier service, you expect your package or documents to be delivered on schedule. When they aren’t, it can be incredibly frustrating. DHL is known for being a reliable international shipper, and they provide great customer service.

If you find out that your DHL shipment is on hold, you should contact them to make sure that it isn’t an error on your end. You may be able to get the package moving again by submitting any necessary documents or making a correction to the address. If the delay is caused by weather conditions, there is nothing you can do.

Packages go through customs when they are delivered to another country. If you watch the tracking and see the DHL shipment on hold, you will want to know what it means.

What Does DHL Shipment on Hold Mean?

DHL shipment on hold is technical shipping language that means that your shipment has stopped moving in its shipping process. This means that you might not receive your package on schedule, and it could be on hold for different reasons.

There are always possible unavoidable circumstances for a delay in your shipment. It could be a problem with the sender or the recipient, or it could be held up in customs. Unfortunately, there isn’t a timeline for this kind of delay, but this hold is usually cleared up within a week.

There are many reasons that the delay can occur, including port congestion, missing documents for customs, shortage of shipping equipment, and more. If you want to find out the specific reason, you need to call DHL.

Why Was My DHL Shipment Placed on Hold?

Your DHL shipment could be placed on hold for a number of different reasons. There are a number of common issues that can cause this delay.

Weather Conditions

First of all, bad weather could cause the delay. There might be a typhoon or a hurricane, which would prevent ships from being able to leave the port as planned, or it may have to make an emergency stop.

There could be snowstorms that prevent the package from making part of the trip. Any natural disaster can impact DHL’s ability to move the package. They can occur in the sender’s location, along the shipping route, or in the recipient’s location.

Port Congestion

Another common reason for a hold is port congestion. The ship carrying your package may be stuck out at sea as it waits for a slot to berth. This is a growing problem, and it affects everyone. However, there isn’t a lot that can be done about it.

Sometimes the ship changes routes. This could be a result of bad weather, or it could be that the ship makes an emergency stop. The ship may need to stop at another port to pick up more packages, and this causes delays.

There could also be a lack of vessel space or equipment, which means that your package will wait for the next vessel.

Error in the Contact Information

Sometimes there is an error in the contact information of the sender or the recipient. Once you see that the package is on hold, you can contact DHL, and if this is the problem, you will be able to resolve it. The package may be ready to be delivered to you, but it might be missing part of the address.

Customs Clearance

Your package needs to pass through customs, and there could be missing documents. This is the most common cause of a shipment being placed on hold, and it usually means that commercial documents are missing.

You need to include a commercial invoice, a bill of lading, a packing list, and an arrival notice.

The Pandemic

The pandemic is another cause of delays, and it can slow down shipments all over the world. This can be frustrating, but it is also unavoidable.

Why Is My DHL Shipment Not Moving?

If your DHL shipment is not moving, it is likely for one of the above reasons. When you ship internationally, a lot can happen while the package is traveling.

The first consideration is the weather and environmental concerns. DHL can’t control dangerous weather, and anything from hurricanes to typhoons or fires is going to delay the delivery of your packages.

Another common problem is port congestion, which is caused when ships can’t get into the port and have to wait out at sea. The ship may be stuck out there for days if the port is overly congested.

With the pandemic, there have been increased delays due to port congestion because there aren’t always enough people working at the ports to move ships in and out efficiently.

There are other potential problems with ships, from rerouting to stopping at other ports to pick up packages along the way. There may also be a shortage of space on the ship, in which case your package may need to wait for the next one.

If there is missing information, this could cause your package to stop moving. It could be stuck in customs because it is missing documents that are necessary, or it could have an issue with your address. It will stop moving until these issues are cleared up.

How Long Can This Take?

Most of the time, a DHL hold lasts seven days. You can expect your package to be delayed by a week. However, it depends in part on why the shipment is on hold.

If there is a problem with the recipient’s address, the package should start moving again once you contact them and make the correction.

If your package is on a customs hold, it will start moving once they receive the necessary documents. One document they require is the commercial invoice or the sales invoice. It should state the names of the buyer and the seller, the origin of the item, and the list of what is included.

Depending on what it is, they may require additional items, such as a Dangerous Goods Declaration, a Toxic Substance Control Act Declaration, or other forms required by government agencies.

The carrier needs to issue a bill of lading. This is proof of ownership, freight, and transport. There should also be a packing list that includes the types of goods that are being shipped, the size, the weight, and how many there are. This is important for the requirements of the vessel carrying the package.

There should also be an arrival notice, which is issued by the carrier. It notifies everyone about the location of the shipment, and it will also let people know when the shipment is available to be released by customs.

If any of these documents are missing, your package will be delayed until they are submitted.

What to Do When Your DHL Shipment Is on Hold

If you find out that your DHL shipment is on hold, you should contact them to make sure that it isn’t an error on your end. You may be able to get the package moving again by submitting any necessary documents or making a correction to the address.

If the shipment is on hold because of weather or shipping holdups, there is nothing that you can do. It is likely that your package will be around seven days late, but it will get there. It can be frustrating, but you need to be patient.

Can You Speed Things up?

In some cases, you can speed up the process. If the problem is related to missing customs documents, you can send the documents right away to speed up the package clearing customs. If the problem is related to your address, you can speed it up by providing it to them.

Unfortunately, if the hold is a result of a natural disaster or port congestion, you won’t be able to speed it up. The best thing you can do is wait. You should communicate with your seller or your buyer to make sure that everyone understands the issue, and do your best to be patient.

Q&A Section

Q: Why does my DHL shipment say exception?

A delivery exception happens when your package is temporarily stalled while it is in transit. This can happen because it is delayed by customs. You can reduce the risk of this happening by making sure that you have all of your customs documents filled out correctly and that the recipient’s information is accurate.

Q: Why is my DHL shipment on hold in Singapore?

A: Your DHL shipment could be on hold in Singapore for different reasons. One possibility is that they need more papers for customs. You may not have paid the taxes for the item yet, in which case they will hold it until you do. Call DHL to find out what the problem is and whether you can do anything to resolve the problem.

Q: Why is my DHL shipment on hold in Hong Kong?

A: If your shipment is on hold in Hong Kong, there could be several reasons. First, they may need additional documents from the shipper for customs. They may be backed up and have their own delays, or they might have a problem with your address. The best way to find out why your shipment is on hold in Hong Kong is to contact DHL.

Q: What does DHL “The shipment is awaiting the next scheduled movement” mean?

When you find this message, it means exactly what it says. Your package is waiting for the next scheduled movement. It could be waiting for the next business day to be processed, or it could be waiting at customs.

If you paid for an economy plan, the package could be waiting because it only gets processed at certain times. You may need to pay custom duty fees and the shipment could be waiting for that to happen. This message might also mean that your package contains something that is prohibited.

If you want to fix this problem, you need to call customer care at DHL and find out what they need from you. They will know what the shipment is on hold and waiting for the next scheduled movement.


Despite DHL being quite a reputable worldwide company, delays do sometimes happen.

They can be caused by weather conditions, improper information on the package or documentation, or simply because of the higher transportation demand at the moment.

Regardless of the reason, you should contact DHL customer service to find out what the exact problem is in order to get your package moving again.