I buy hundreds of items per year from overseas, and have inevitably used DHL for some deliveries, though in review, should I?
I have just received a package that was picked up at 16:13 in Shanghai (China), and cleared customs in Sydney some 30 hours later. It was delivered in Bowral, 100km SW of Sydney some 41 hours later, yes 58% of the transit time was the last 100km, care of DHL and Australia Post.
You could be forgiven for thinking that DHL service is better in China than it is in Australia.
DHL hands off some deliveries to Australia post, and after than handoff, tracking information from DHL is unreliable, and uninformative. For example, in that delivery, tracking advices were that it was "out for delivery" on Monday, then again, the same message on Tuesday. There is obviously only low level exchange of information between DHL and Australia Post, degrading the DHL service paid for.
So where is Bowral, it is a remote location? Well, lots of people commute daily by car and train to Sydney for work... it is quite close to Sydney, the centre of the Southern Highlands district, and just off the Hume Highway, the main road from Sydney to Canberra and Melbourne.
I have come to the view that most packages clearing customs in Sydney on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, will be delivered here late Tuesday afternoon.
One experience earlier this year was a package sent by DHL from Germany. The package took many weeks for delivery, caused in part by being handed off to Australia Post who told me it was in Tasmania, they didn't know where, DHL didn't know where, and that it would turn up sooner or later.
On balance, there was one outstanding good performance. A purchase early on Friday morning was delivered here before lunch time Monday, stunning, but that cost US$275 for freight for a quite light, but large box.
A large part of the problem seems to lie with the hand off to Australia Post. As I write this, I am waiting for a small parcel from Sydney posted in Sydney six days ago.
Overall, DHL services have been disappointing end to end, poor value, and I have resolved to avoid them.
I just have to recognise that things coming from China will take several weeks because most sellers seem to be selling product with no stock holding, there is an apparent backlog in small parcels getting out of China, and when they arrive here, it is to a third world postal service anyway.
Nevertheless, China, UK and US offer access to a wide range of products, and that for small items, are usually cheaper (postage included) than the same things in Australia because of high internal postage charges (which must be frustrating for Australian businesses trying to embrace the online selling model).
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