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What Does the “Partial Delivery” DHL Tracking Alert Mean?

You’re expecting an order from DHL and you have received a “Partial Delivery” tracking update.

What does this mean? Where is the rest of your package and is there anything you should do?

Let’s take a look…

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What Does “Partial Delivery” DHL Mean?

A “Partial Delivery” from DHL means that a consignment has been shipped in more than one piece and they haven’t arrived together. The recipient will receive one part of the shipment via a “Partial Delivery” with the rest of the order arriving later.

What Causes a “Partial Delivery”?

There are actually two main reasons a partial delivery from DHL occurs.

Shipment Sent as a Split Order

DHL eCommerce offers a facility for online vendors to create partial shipments.

This is useful in situations where a buyer may have ordered five products and only four were currently in stock. 

A partial shipment can be created with the four items dispatched to the customer immediately. The final item can then be shipped once it is back in stock.

The arrival of the first four items would trigger the “Partial Delivery” status. The order delivery will be complete once the fifth item is dispatched to the recipient.

Partial Delivery orders can be created by the seller when using DHL eCommerce. This is done at the point the vendor creates the shipping label. Head here for a DHL guide on the process.

More Than One Package in a Shipment, Arriving at Different Times

Another scenario that creates a “Partial Delivery” situation with DHL, is two or more items dispatched as one order (at the same time) and the packages arrive at different times.

This is again common with eCommerce shipments. For example, DJI Drones shipped overseas will sometimes arrive in part shipments due to the batteries being sent separately. There are many examples of products that require the same.

Whether it is due to the contents, size, and shape of the packages that make up the order, or the way they are handled during shipping; if items arrive at the delivery destination facility at different times, a partial delivery may occur.

We say, “may occur” because in some situations DHL will create a “Shipment on Hold” status update.

This would signify that the delivery infrastructure has decided the packages that are ready to be delivered will be placed on hold so that the rest of the consignment can catch up. 

Everything would then be delivered together.

This is more likely to occur when the shipment has not passed the scheduled delivery window, and/or if the delivery address is in a more remote area making two or more deliveries inefficient.

What Happens if My Shipment is Stuck on “Partial Delivery”?

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If your shipment is stuck on “Partial Delivery” for more than 5 business days, there is a high probability that a delay has occurred with the rest of the consignment.

For this, you should first check with the seller to ensure that the various parts of the shipment were in fact sent at the same time.

If the answer is yes, your next step is DHL customer services. They will need to look into what has happened with the missing part of the shipment, its current location, and how far away it is from delivery.

Final Words

If you have ordered more than one item from an online vendor, or a shipment that had to be dispatched in more than one package, you could end up with a “Partial Delivery” update as the items approach the delivery address.

This is normal procedure with such shipments and is nothing to be concerned about.

However, if the undelivered parts of the split consignment cause the “Partial Delivery” alert to remain for several business days, you will need to investigate further.

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