Who Is Germany’s Biggest Shipping Company? [Everything You Need To Know]

The German market today is an important part of the global economy. More than one out of every four products sold worldwide goes to Germany.

Who Is Germany's Biggest Shipping Company? [Everything You Need To Know]

And approximately 70,000 foreign companies operate there, employing over 3 million people.

Germany is a safe and reliable partner for businesses looking to do business abroad.

In addition, Germany is home to some of the biggest corporations in the world, such as Daimler AG, Deutsche Bank, Allianz SE and Lufthansa Group.

With the EU Single Market, sending a package to Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart or Frankfurt is just as easy as sending a package from Glasgow to Manchester.

You can send parcels to Germany via PostNL, TNT Express, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Aramex, Yodel, Hermes or Kuehne + Nagel.

The German parcel, courier and express (CEP) services have benefited from a surge of growth over the past few years due to an increase in eCommerce mostly from e-trade in Germany.

In 2019, 3.6 billion parcels were delivered across the country.


The parcel delivery giant Deutsche Post DHL has been around since 2002. Founded by Deutsche Post AG in Berlin, it now operates in over 30 countries worldwide.

At the end of 2019, the company had about 150,000 employees in Germany alone.

In the domestic market, the group generated revenues totaling sixty three billion euros  in 2019.

Of this amount, the Post & Parcel Germany segment accounted for €15.50 billion.

The 150,000 workers employed in Germany shipped some 1.6 billion packages in 2018.

These deliveries helped push up the company’s overall revenues to €14.8 billion.

At the start of 2019, the newly established “DHL eCommerce Solution” unit was set up to further improve the company’s appeal for those purchasing goods online. 


The parcel delivery company Hermes,  based in Hamburg,  was formed in 1972 and since then has been part of the Otto Group.

In 2018, employees reached fifteen thousand, five hundred  people, making up about 3% of the total workforce.

This resulted in a turnover of around €3.5 billion, which is a slight increase over 2017.

In 2019, the company transported over 910 million packages, a growth of almost 100 million compared to 2018.

Furthermore, the amount of parcels delivered increased by 12%.

At the end of 2019, there were already 14.9 million registered customers. By the end of 2020, the number of customers could reach 20 million.

CO2 neutral optionsAn initiative called “Hermes – WE do!” was initiated in 2010.

As part of this, the company offers its customers carbon offsetting options.

For example, customers can buy renewable energy certificates (RECs), which are generated based on the use of wind power, solar power or biogas.

The customer receives a certificate for every kilowatt hour used and thus contributes to climate protection.


The DPD Group is one of the largest logistics providers worldwide.

Founded in 1873 as a small mail coach operator in Hanover, it now offers its customers around 150 different services including parcel delivery, registered mail, courier deliveries, ecommerce solutions, contract packaging and industrial supplies. 

In fiscal year 2018/19 DPD generated revenues of 7.8 billion euros.

The head office is located in Hamburg and there are subsidiaries in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vietnam and USA.


General Logistics Systems B. V. (GLS), a logistics provider based in Germany, is one of the world’s leading parcel carriers.

Founded in 1989, GLS offers express deliveries around the globe. Customers are able to track their shipments online and receive real-time tracking information.

With over 90,000 employees working across six continents, GLS provides customers with reliable, fast and secure shipping.

Who Is Germany's Biggest Shipping Company? [Everything You Need To Know]


The company offers express deliveries around the clock, 365 days per year.

In addition to regular shipping, it provides special services such as same day delivery and next day delivery.

In 2018, UPS became the first major logistics company to introduce a carbon neutral option, which allows customers to offset the emissions caused by the transport of goods via the purchase of emission reductions.

This makes UPS one of the few companies to offer a truly sustainable solution.

3pl And Order Fulfillment As An Alternative Solution

Businesses that need hundreds of packages shipped each month are wise to outsource their shipping requirements to a third party logistics provider.

3LP is a good option to lighten the load and provide a more efficient service. Choosing partnerships  with companies such as Byrd is an effective solution.

In practice the process is quite simple. The online store system is linked to a network in a warehouse via specific software.

This creates a tool that provides an all in one option enabling automatic transfer of data and management of orders. 

In addition, the warehouse network offers a multitude of advantages: 

The integration into the warehouse network allows for easy relocation of inventory across the entire network and reduces shipping costs thanks to volume discounts offered by the providers.

Furthermore, having a highly flexible and resilient warehouse network at the touch of your fingers helps you significantly during the peak seasons.

Hamburg Süd Group

Hamburg Süd is a German shipping company based in Hamburg. Founded in 1871, it has expanded to become one of the world’s leading container lines.

In addition to being a major player in international trade, the company provides cruise ship tours around the globe.

The company operates three main brands: Hamburg Sud AG, Hamburg Sud International AG, and Hamburg Sud Cruise Lines. Its headquarters are located in Hamburg.

German Shipping Laws

Germany’s Verpackungsgesetz (Packaging Law), commonly referred to as VerpackG, is one of the world’s strictest regulations for e-commerce.

While some countries like China require companies to register and pay taxes, Germany requires businesses to comply with VerpackG.

This includes registering for VAT, paying taxes, keeping records, and ensuring products meet certain requirements.

Failure to comply could lead to fines up to €10 million ($11.4 million).

But there is good news: compliance is easy. In fact, the entire process takes less than 10 minutes.

What does VerpackG mean for e-commerce businesses in Germany?

If you operate an online store in Germany, you are required to follow the rules set forth by VerpackG. These include:

  • Registering for Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Paying taxes
  • Keeping records
  • Ensuring your products meet certain standards

VerpackG applies to all goods sold on a commercial basis. It also covers any services provided over the internet.

If you sell anything from a physical location or have employees that work remotely, then you must comply with VerpackunG regardless of where your customers live.

So, if you are considering starting a shipping business in Germany, be sure to research what is required and in order to fully comply with the rules to avoid hefty fines. 


If you want to start selling internationally, you need to make sure you understand how different countries regulate commerce.

You should know what types of documentation you will need to provide, and which type of licenses you will need to obtain.

You should also research the different companies and to find the right one for you. 

Andy Domar
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