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The International Shipment is Being Prepared for Onward Transport

You’re expecting a delivery from DHL and you have received a “The International Shipment is Being Prepared for Onward Transport” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? How long is the package away from delivery and what do you do if your item is stuck on this update?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: The International Shipment is Being Prepared for Onward Transport

This update from DHL is triggered when an international shipment is scanned inside a sorting facility close to the origin location. From here it will be dispatched (onward transport) to the export location where it will be processed for cross-border transit. 

The International Shipment is Being Prepared for Onward Transport

DHL Plane

DHL used this update to signify that the international shipment is inside a sorting facility in the origin location.

The carrier has scanned the item and now it will be sorted (prepared) for transportation to the export location.

This will normally be a DHL sort facility at an international airport.

The tracking update you will receive once the item is sorted in that next facility will be, “Processed at Export Facility”.


However, I am jumping ahead somewhat there.

Essentially, the package has made its way from the sender to the first DHL facility in the network. 

Being an international package it will be dispatched to the relevant location for overseas transit.

What Happens If My Tracking is Stuck on this Update?

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Let’s face it, you have probably reached this article because your DHL tracking has ended up stuck on this update.

If you see no new alerts for several business days it is likely that the package is inside the origin facility and a delay is preventing it from leaving.

Reasons include high package volumes, lack of transport options for the item to reach its next destination in the delivery network, staffing and technical issues, and even weather, (preventing DHL trucks from transporting shipments).

the international shipment is being prepared for onward transport

In rare occasions, (as your package hasn’t reached customs at this stage), DHL may have recognized an issue with the package or its contents and it has been held back for inspection or for the sender to be contacted.

However, the tracking will either show as much, or the sender will have already been contacted.

Either way, I recommend that if more than 5 business days pass (and sooner on an expedited delivery), you get in contact with DHL to find out more.

Note: if you are the recipient, it is a good idea to contact the sender first if the item is stuck on “The International Shipment is Being Prepared for Onward Transport”.

The fact the item is still inside the origin country and the sender made the initial order with DHL, it should be them that makes contact.

Final Words

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Overall, this update means that the shipment is progressing through the DHL delivery network and has reached a facility inside the origin country.

DHL knows that the item is due for international transit and is processing the package accordingly.

This will involve transit to an international export facility, which will be the next step after this one.

Patience may be in order as the package really is still at the beginning of its journey.

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