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What Does “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” Mean?

You’re expecting a delivery from DHL on an online order and you have received an “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” tracking update.

What does this mean? Is the shipment moving as it should? What do you do if your tracking is stuck on this update?

Let’s take a look…

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“En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” – Meaning

This alert is a default status that DHL uses after a shipment order has been made. You will see this update until the package has been handed over to DHL and receives its first physical scan.

Where is my Package When I Receive this Update?

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Your package is still in the hands of the eCommerce seller or the fulfillment warehouse (if the seller uses one).

This update is very similar to the “Pre-shipment info sent to USPS, USPS Awaiting Item” alert that the post office uses.

In other words, the seller has created an order with DHL and the information has been sent and a tracking number created.

Now the package has to be handed over to DHL so that they can deliver it. 

In the case of large fulfillment warehouses such as those owned by Amazon, this can involve the package being palletized and loaded onto a DHL trailer ready for pickup.

For a small eCommerce outfit running an online store from home, this could simply be dropping the package off at a DHL eCommerce facility.

Either way, until the package is in the hands of DHL, you will continue to see the “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center”.

Package Stuck on the “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” Update

En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center

It can sometimes seem like your package tracking is stuck on the update for way too long.

If you bear in mind that you will see this status until the package is with DHL, it can mitigate the worry of the alert sticking around.

However, what do you do if you see the update for more than a few days? What may have caused the hold-up?

1. Delay in the Package Reaching DHL

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The most common cause of a lingering “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” status update, is a delay in the package reaching DHL.

This can be caused by a number of reasons. From weather and technical issues preventing the normal transit of packages to the DHL eCommerce facility to misplacement of your package and it ending up on the wrong pallet or truck.

The online seller may also have been delayed in dispatching your package to DHL.

Any obstruction to the normal flow of packages to the DHL facility will lead to you seeing the update for longer than you should.

2. Delay in Package Being Scanned

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There is also the fact that even when your package reaches the DHL, there can be a backlog of items leading to a delay in your package being scanned.

DHL eCommerce facilities process an enormous amount of packages each day. At busy times, it might take your item 24-48hrs to be scanned.

Add that to any delay in transit to the facility that might have occurred and you have a potential wait of 3 or 4 days where you are seeing the “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” status without any further updates.

What Should You Do if the Status Alert is Stuck?

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As you will have seen from the explanation above, seeing the alert for several days after receiving the DHL tracking details for your order is not beyond the realm of possibility.

However, it is understandable to be concerned as time progresses.

We recommend that you wait at least three working days (excluding weekends) before contacting DHL about the package.

You can also contact the shipper to alert them to the fact the package doesn’t seem to be moving. They may have further information regarding the delay too.

What Happens After an “En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center” Update?

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After the package has been scanned by DHL, it will be sorted and sent to a facility closer to your zip code.

Follow-up tracking alerts include “Departure Origin DHL eCommerce Facility”, “In Transit“, and “Arrival Destination DHL eCommerce Facility”, both of which signify the shipment is in progress towards the delivery address.

The DHL eCommerce service utilizes USPS for last-mile delivery, which means that as the packages approach the delivery area they will be handed over to the post office for final delivery.

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