So, with the launch of myDHLi, we finally welcome DHL Global Freight Forwarding to the world of online quotes and booking.

The path has been bumpy, but DHL GF seems to have finally caught up with the rest of the leading freight forwarders in offering a service covering both air and ocean and includes DHL Ocean Connect LCL, DHL Air Connect and DHL Air Economy.

The big question I have, though, is why is it limited to just Global Freight Forwarding?

As one of the largest delivery companies in the world, why can’t a customer be able to monitor small package, LTL freight, ocean and/or air freight, mail or e-commerce items all from a single platform instead of using varying solutions, such as Saloodo! for freight, or filling out an online form for e-commerce items?

I’m assuming many customers have accounts with more than one DHL division, or perhaps this is not the case? Perhaps there is a single platform and I’m simply missing it, despite all the DHL websites I’ve visited.

I shouldn’t pick on DHL Global Freight Forwarding. Considered the largest forwarder by a number of market research firms, it has gone through some troubling times, including partnering with SAP to build online capabilities that were to include “increased visibility for shipments, better documentation for shipments, as well as management of operational milestones”. The result was fingers pointed at both DHL and SAP for dropping the ball and a hefty €345m write-off in 2015.

Luckily, DHL was quick to see the light following the fiasco and signed up with WiseTech to utilise the company’s CargoWise One solution in 2016 – just like so many other forwarders and logistics providers – which provides a customisable web-based tracking module that provides visibility to monitor the status and movements of goods in real time.

Another question concerns this statement from the company’s press release: “Upon booking, customers are informed via an email containing tracking information and an overview of the ordered service.”

Email? Really? We’ve been told by countless logistics tech start-ups that we are inundated by too many emails, as well as the continued use of faxes and phone calls. Why flip between an online platform and email? Why can’t it all be in a single location? It seems to defeat the purpose of even having an online platform.

Likewise, for quotes concerning dangerous goods, lithium batteries and non-stackable cargo, one needs to still email the group. Ok, I get that these tend to be special items. But still…

“The new myDHLi Quote & Book saves time for customers and helps them take the right decisions in terms of transport mode and transit time.”

Yes, I agree that online platforms such as this can save time, but when your option for mode of transport is either air or ocean, that’s not much of a choice is it? If I can’t have all modes of transport that the DHL organisation offers on a single platform, where, at least, are the rest of the transport modes that the DHL Freight Forwarding and Freight division manages? Hopefully they will be included in version 2.0.

In the meantime, myDHLi is a nice start for basic shipments and, I’m sure, over time will be expanded. Who knows, perhaps the DHL group will take notice of other logistics providers offering a single platform for all modes of transport and services and offer a similar service, versus their current siloed approach.

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