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Global Forwarding, Freight

Air, ocean and overland freight forwarding services are our core business. They include standardised transports as well as multimodal and sector-specific solutions, together with customised industrial projects and customs services.

Our business model is based upon brokering transport services between customers and freight carriers. The global reach of our network allows us to offer efficient routing and multimodal transport options. Compared with the Group's other divisions, our operational business model is asset-light.

Air, ocean and overland freight






countries and territories

3.3 million

20-foot container units transported


freight terminals

Volumes in air freight remained high despite uncertain market conditions

Despite the somewhat weak macroeconomic environment, we reached around 1.9 million tonnes (previous year: around 2.1 million tonnes) of export air freight transported.

Ocean freight market reports higher volumes

With around 3.3 million 20-foot container units (previous year: around 3.1 million) transported, we managed to increase the ocean freight volume under the difficult circumstances of 2022, with the additional volumes from theacquisition of Hillebrand making a noticeable difference.

Weaker growth in the European road freight market

After the European road freight market benefited from a significant increase in volumes in the previous year, the market developed more slowly in 2022. We recorded a decline in volumes by 4.8 %. Capacity shortages, higher personnel costs, changes to commercial road freight and the significant rises in the diesel prices have led to a considerable increase in costs.

Satisfied customers and the digitalisation roadmap

We aim to design our services to be as user-friendly as possible. To do so, we systematically record customer feedback by calculating Net Promoter Scores and conducting annual satisfaction surveys. Based upon the information received, we define initiatives and actions aimed at steadily improving our products and services.

The global network of the Global Forwarding, Freight division meets the highest safety standards demanded by customers and authorities, including TAPA and CTPAT; we therefore have the most advanced ISO-certified business continuity management programme in the industry.

With a global Transport Management System, we laid the foundation for further scaling of global applications and processes in the Global Forwarding business unit. We further implemented a standardised Transport Management System in the Freight business unit as well. Meanwhile, we are continually registering new user groups in our myDHLi portal and see increasing activity on our digital customer interaction tools, such as Saloodo! - our digital marketplace for road freight - and the Freight Customer Portal which is successfully running in Sweden.