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What Does the DHL “Close Bag” Tracking Update Mean?

You’re expecting a delivery from DHL and you have received a “Close Bag” status alert.

What does this mean exactly? Where is your package when you receive this update and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Close Bag

The “Close Bag” tracking update from DHL is triggered once a bundled bag of shipments is closed for transport. Essentially, smaller-sized parcels are grouped together into a bag and the bag will remain open until it is full. Once full, the bag is closed and loaded onto the mode of transport for the next leg of the transit journey.

Close Bag DHL – Guide

DHL Plane

The “Close Bag” tracking update can be used on both international and domestic DHL shipments. When a small package or letter is shipped it will be grouped with other items going to the same location (or country).

That bag will be able to contain multiple items. Before it is transported the bag will remain open so that all items going to the same destination can be added to the bag.

Consider packages going from Hong Kong to New York for instance.

The open bag will be inside a DHL sort facility in Hong Kong. Items being shipped to New York will be placed into this specific bag.

Once it is full, it will be closed and the “Close Bag” DHL alert will be triggered. This is done on all items inside the bag, with just one scan – that of the closed bag.

This bag is then loaded onto a plane for transportation to New York. Once it arrives, the bag is scanned and the tracking of every item within it will automatically be updated to the new status (“Arrived at Destination Country” or “DHL Clearance Event” etc).

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The same can apply to bagged items being sent on a domestic flight within the USA, or simply from facility to facility using road transit.

That being said, the “Close Bag” alert is used sporadically by DHL. Not all shipment tracking will feature this.

The absence of such an update should not cause you any concern, however.

Tracking Stuck on the “Close Bag” Alert

packages waiting to be loaded
Closed Bags Left Behind (By Me, MidJourney)

Sometimes, it may seem as if your tracking is stuck on the “Close Bag” alert. In fact, you may have reached this article via a Google search after believing this to be the case.

The important issue to realize is that after this update, your package could go a long period without being scanned again. Especially for an International shipment.

Think about it for a moment. After the bag is closed, it will be loaded onto an aircraft, will have to go through international transit to another country, be unloaded, and then enter customs clearance.

Your package could easily go a few days without being scanned. If there are any transport delays or backlogs in the destination country customs, this time span will grow even more.

So What Should I do When Tracking Stuck?

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If your tracking is stuck for several days, you should consider the time window for the delivery and whether an expedited service was purchased.

If the package has been sent using a premium DHL shipping speed, you have every right to contact DHL to find out what is happening within a very short time.

If a budget delivery method was used, you will clearly have to wait longer. In the meantime, keep an eye on your tracking for any explanation of the delay.

If there are issues with customs, either the sender or the recipient may be expected to provide more information or in some cases pay any duties owed.

Final Words

Overall, when the “Close Bag” update is used, it just means that the item has been bundled with other packages destined for the same location.

The bag is now closed and it will be loaded onto the plane or truck for further transit.

This can mean a window of a few days before you receive another update. In situations where you feel there has been a genuine delay, you should contact DHL for more information.

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