Choosing between the big three carriers—FedEx, DHL and UPS—can be a difficult process. Add in the United States Postal Service, and it’s even more confusing. For this post, let’s narrow it down even more, to just look at FedEx vs DHL. This will help you better understand the pros and cons of each shipping company, especially as it relates to both international shipping and domestic shipping services. FedEx, originally Federal Express, is better known in the United States, as it’s based in the U.S. and focuses heavily on domestic service. There are long standing comparisons between FedEx vs. UPS and FedEx vs. USPS, but DHL has become a rising competitor as well. DHL is also a big player, albeit less so for domestic delivery options in North America, and more so for international shipping, given that it’s based in Germany.
Next, we’ll dive into some of the commonly asked questions about FedEx vs. DHL carriers, and ways to understand how to best choose the delivery service that will meet your needs.
Is FedEx the same as DHL?
Some people ask if FedEx is the same as DHL, and the answer is a resounding no. While there are many similarities to the services, know that these are very different companies. Here is some background about FedEx vs DHL.
- DHL: DHL is headquartered in Bonn, Germany and has 550,000 employees world-wide. Though it was founded in the United States, it is now a German company and part of Deutsche Post. The company is large, and a leading carrier for global logistics, with overseas and air mail delivery options. They deliver more than 1.3 billion packages annually, and are said to be the largest logistics company globally. One fun fact is that DHL is able to deliver to North Korea. If you want to send a DHL shipment abroad, you’re in good hands. DHL excels in international shipments, both in lower rates and fast delivery. For U.S. domestic deliveries, however, DHL is rarely the carrier of choice. One reason is that it doesn’t offer regular weekend delivery in the U.S., though a shipper may be able to get occasional Sunday delivery with hefty fees.
- FedEx: FedEx is both founded and headquartered in the U.S., making it a better option for domestic shipping. Like DHL, FedEx is also large, with more than 50,000 U.S. locations, and 425,000 employees globally. The shipping service can send out at least 14 million packages a day, using the 670 planes in its fleet. FedEx does offer weekend delivery to most residential locations with no extra surcharges.
Here are some of the other similarities. Both FedEx and DHL can be found in more than 220 countries and offer door-to-door delivery. They both offer international shipments, customer service, and customs services. They offer discounts to customers based on multiple variables. They can both track packages and allow customers to do this independently.
Which is better, DHL or FedEx?
Asking which is better, DHL or FedEx, is like asking which vendor can meet every single one of your needs at all times. There is no good answer for every single shipper, even DHL vs. UPS. For these basic scenarios, you can make generalizations:
- If shipping internationally, DHL is typically a cheaper delivery company.
- If shipping internationally, DHL has faster delivery times.
- If shipping domestically, FedEx shipping options are typically cheaper.
- If shipping domestically, FedEx shipping options are typically faster.
Which carrier is best for international shipping?
FedEx and DHL have many of the same types of shipping categories, but they can be called by different names and aren’t always exactly the same shipping option. Here are some of the DHL shipping services.
DHL International services
- DHL Express by 9:00
- DHL Express by 10:30
- DHL Express by 12:00
- DHL Express Worldwide
- DHL Express Envelope
These services include DHL parcel delivery on the next possible day, and door-to-door courier service. They also offer end-to-end tracking visibility, proactive delivery notifications, customs clearance facilitation, delivery management and a money-back guarantee for your international package.
DHL SameDay Jetline is the company’s fast delivery air solution, and they use a charter service or an onboard courier for small packages.
DHL Express Domestic
- Express by end of day
These services include parcel delivery by the end of the next possible day and door-to-door courier service. They also offer end-to-end tracking visibility, proactive delivery notifications, and delivery management.
DHL SmartMail Parcel and DHL Ecommerce
DHL works with the USPS for final mile delivery, for shippers that send large numbers of ecommerce of B2C shipments domestically in the United States. DHL SmartMail Parcel Plus is a full-service residential shipping solution.
It can help shippers with:
- pick-up and delivery
- Combining DHL and USPS Priority Mail service.
DHL Global Forwarding Services
- Air freight
- Ocean freight
- Domestic freight
- Road freight
- Rail freight
They offer services helping with customs and logistics solutions, and can do same-day service as well.
DHL Supply Chain
DHL Supply Chain offers solutions for:
- real estate
- ecommerce fulfillment
- service logistics
- and as a lead logistics partner.
Here are some of the FedEx shipping services.
FedEx International services:
- FedEx International Next Flight
- FedEx International Economy
- FedEx 1, 2, or 3 day delivery
- FedEx International Ground (to Canada)
FedEx Priority Domestic
- FedEx SameDay
- FedEx First Overnight
- FedEx Priority Overnight
- FedEx Standard Overnight
- FedEx 2Day AM
- FedEx 2Day
- FedEx Express Saver (3 days)
- FedEx Ground (commercial ground)
- FedEx Home Delivery (residential ground)
FedEx Domestic Freight
Less than truckload (LTL) freight:
- FedEx Freight Priority
- FedEx Freight Economy
- Fed-Ex SameDay Freight
- FedEx First Overnight Freight
- FedEx 1, 2 or 3 Day Freight
FedEx International Freight
- FedEx International Next Flight
- FedEx International Priority Freight (over 150 lbs., 1 day)
- FedEx International Economy Freight (over 150 lbs., up to 5 days)
- FedEx International Premium (health, safety, property or environmental risks)
Consider these factors when choosing FedEx vs DHL: package size and weight (which can be dimensional weight), shipping destination, additional delivery services which may require a surcharge, whether pick-up is needed, and whether weekend delivery is needed.
What is the best package delivery company?
You’ve probably realized by now that the best package delivery company depends on many factors. Choosing the right shipping carrier for the right packages is an important way to lower the costs when deciding on FedEx vs DHL, or any other carrier for that matter. But there are other ways that a company can improve the bottom line, and it involves more than just choosing one carrier or another. It includes out-of-the-box thinking to looking for savings, and that may involve bringing in a third party’s expertise.
Every year or few years, shippers may negotiate new contracts with the carriers. That’s a time to look back at your shipping experience and see where you shipped the most packages, along with determining the most common sizes and service types you used. This data can help you formulate a negotiation strategy to win better terms with the carrier. You could do this on your own, but you’d be better served by bringing in experts who used to be on the carrier side. That’s what Shipware’s contract optimization program does. Shipware’s experts have done this from the other side, and they know where a carrier can negotiate and by how much. But it’s not a blanket approach. To get the best rates and discounts, precise data is needed.
Shipware’s experts can analyze your shipping data to understand intricacies that most shippers wouldn’t know to look for. It involves which surcharges are used, which regions or zones are used — and when. Carriers may have flexibility to negotiate less sexy discounts than just the overall rate. It may not seem like the right approach, but it can actually save you up to 30% of their overall shipping costs after using this service. It’s an investment that pays off in spades over the short haul and long haul.
There’s an even easier program that can save up to 9% of the shipping costs, and it can be used alone or layered on top of the contract optimization program. It’s called the invoice audit recovery program. Using a software program installed in less than 10 minutes, Shipware’s audit recovery program runs in the background, analyzing every shipping invoice to spot carrier errors. While some logistics employees think they can do this by reviewing invoices manually, we’ve found that too many people miss both crucial and small errors, and it can cost the shipper money. Errors are often not obvious, especially with regular changes that are made to carrier software. The invoice audit recovery program flags the errors and applies for credit automatically, with the credit deposited into the shipper’s account.
The beauty of the invoice audit recovery program is that it costs shippers nothing. There is no fee unless credits are applied, and then Shipware recoups a portion of that. It’s an easy way for logistics executives to save money and look good to top management for bringing in the savings.
Whether you choose FedEx vs. DHL, or another carrier, Shipware can help you lower your shipping rates and make your life easier. To learn how, please contact us.