DHL Express: Fueling logistics, keeping SMEs alive

In the constantly evolving property sector, logistics is proving to be one of the most resilient asset classes, especially in these times of uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One such logistics company is DHL Express, no doubt a testament to the sector’s resiliency and importance.

Property Report PH talked to DHL Express country manager for the Philippines Nurhayati Abdullah to discuss how the company continues to handle the business’ import requirements with visibility, ease, and simplicity regardless of the changing times and trends. 

 This is drawn from a solid track record of 25 years of import shipping expertise.

Through its Import Express business, DHL has enabled B2B customers to grow their business and keep their production going even during the strictest community quarantine period.

DHL enables global trade as it provides SMEs a chance to grow their businesses abroad.

“For example, we have been fully operational since the first day of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila. The nature of our business, logistics, was classified as ‘essential,’ which allowed us to operate as usual while being in strict compliance with the guidelines set by the relevant agencies such as the Inter-Agency Task Force, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment,” Abdullah says.

The Import Business started as a simple idea and billing solution in 1993, which resulted in our very first Import Express shipment on July 1, 1995, with a package shipped from Rome to Switzerland.

 True to DHL Express’ purpose of  “Connecting people, improving lives,” Import Express has evolved to become a key service that helps connect customers across all industries, with over 220 countries and territories. It also helps manage their supply chains with visibility, ease, and simplicity with the help of our robust network, tools, and end-to-end expert support in international shipping.


The story of an import shipment starts with customers arranging a pickup of the shipment through MyDHL+. It is a one-stop shipment management solution that lets users conveniently organize shipments from end to end, online.

Requesting for quotations, including estimated duties and taxes and creating shipping labels and invoices, can also be done through this web- and mobile-based application that is accessible by both account and non-account customers, according to DHL.

The shipment is then delivered to the nearest facility, referred as the Origin Service Center, where it is processed and bagged before moving it to the Origin Gateway. 

At the Origin Gateway, the shipment goes through another round of processing before it undergoes flight uplift to the Transfer Hub.

Once the shipment reaches the Transfer Hub, it is then processed in preparation for the flight uplift to its Destination Gateway.

At the Destination Gateway, the shipment is processed and awaits clearance before it moves to the Destination Service Center where it gets sorted and endorsed to a courier for delivery.  

In between these steps, the shipment movement is readily visible, in real time, through MyDHL+, which also allows customers to receive notifications or set their delivery preferences. 


The pandemic has no doubt changed the behavior of businesses, Abdullah says.

DHL Express Philippines country manager Nurhayati Abdullah

“We have observed that the more established, bigger businesses have remained true to their core. They have operated as usual or with a smaller workforce during the lockdown, which may have also made them more adaptable and resilient,” she notes.

On the other hand, she said, some smaller businesses have pivoted to offering new products that address the current market demand, such as reusable masks, PPE, and health and wellness products.


“Our end-to-end support to customers is a key differentiator. The close coordination with our counterparts in the origin country and standardized operation processes — from pick up of shipment at Origin Service Center to uplift from Origin Gateway, to customs clearance at the Destination Gateway to sorting at Destination Service Center, and finally, delivery by courier to consignee — all contribute to a seamless shipment journey,” Abdullah says.

With its continued and efficient service, DHL is no doubt an enabler of global trade as it provides SMEs a chance to grow their businesses abroad.

“It has always been our commitment to help educate and nurture small and medium businesses to power up their potential to succeed in the global market. They can achieve this not only through exporting their products but also in exploring collaborations with partners from other countries. SMEs avail of our import service to receive documents and packages containing materials and samples, for instance,” Abdullah explains.

 Outside SMEs, DHL also continues to help connect people and uplift their lives.

 Abdullah recalls the story of how the company was able to help a customer deliver a personal, life-saving treatment to a patient.

“One of our business customers requested our help with an urgent personal shipment, which contained medicine for his wife, who has cancer. Upon learning of the situation, the account manager for the customer immediately coordinated with her colleagues to expedite this shipment release. A colleague working in Manila Gateway personally looked for the container where this shipment was held and delivered the package to the Makati Service Center, where it was handed off to a courier for prompt delivery to the customer. DHL’s purpose is to Connect people and improve lives. And in this instance, we not only just delivered a parcel, we also helped save a life,” Abdullah says.

 Indeed, as DHL Express marks its 25th year, it can look forward to continuing its important role in helping not just the logistics industry but businesses and individuals as well.