DHL’s deliveries just got stranger

DHL Express recently released its annual list of quirky, strange and speedy delivery requests for 2013, which ranged from delivering nine gorillas across two continents, to transporting the Webb Ellis Cup trophy and a specific heart internal defibrillator. In addition to these global shipments, a few more interesting packages which were delivered closer to home have come to light and are worth mentioning.

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According to Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, within the sub-Saharan African region there has been an increase in strange food delivery requests with each passing year. He says it is now becoming an increasingly interesting exercise to pinpoint which deliveries stand out above the rest.

“One unique shipment to mention is a 32kg consignment of haggis which was moved from the UK to Tanzania for an event. The Scottish delicacy was swiftly transported through customs and delivered in time for the prestigious event.”

Rahavendra says that in Kenya, live human eyes are transported on a regular basis. “Understandably, the corneas have an extremely short life span and are therefore highly perishable, which poses a significant challenge to us.

“What adds to the complexity is the fact that the recipient is booked and prepped for surgery while the cornea is in transit. The successes of these deliveries rely on prior customs releases, dedicated delivery vehicles and a passionate team of certified international specialists on the ground. When there is no margin for error and the result could affect another person’s opportunity for sight, every stop is pulled out from pick up to delivery.”

Another unusual personal delivery was for a customer who shipped his laundry from the UK to a southern African country… for dry cleaning.

For many people, a wedding is one of the most important and special days of their lives, and the price of one’s happiness on the big day is immeasurable, says Rahavendra. “In light of this, 1.7 tons of fresh flowers were sent from Johannesburg to Douala in Cameroon for such an occasion. This personal request came from a customer whose two sons were getting married on the same day. Fast forward a few short hours, and a splendor of colour was delivered to the event in time for the all important nuptials.”

He says that on the conservation front, an interesting delivery in Kenya included the transport of butterfly larvae. “Any delay in the transport process would result in the premature hatching of the butterflies, from which they would not have survived. Following a similar operational process as the transport of the corneas previously mentioned, another successful, unique delivery was completed.

“From election ballots to presidential documents, DHL Express is trusted to pick up and deliver shipments as fast as possible around the world on a scheduled express network. The customer is at the centre of everything we do and it is this customer centricity that drives us to deliver 2m packages across the globe on a daily basis, no matter how unique the package might be. Although sometimes challenging and stressful, such requests certainly help bring a smile to our faces on a busy day,” concludes Rahavendra.