Paperless processing highlights latest DHL sustainability efforts

By offering businesses the option to fill out customs paperwork electronically, the shipping and logistics company hopes to cut millions of pages of paper from the process.

Last week, international express shipping company DHL began using a Paperless Clearance process that lets its customers transmit customs documents directly to the agency for consideration.

The feature, part of the new DHL-USA Web site, aims to help cut out the need to include all sorts of hard-copy documents, such as certificates of origin, commercial and pro forma invoices. The feature could help DHL customers collectively save millions of sheets of paper, according to DHL. Oh yes, it could also save the amount of time it takes to prepare a shipment AND that it takes for a shipment to clear customs.

The initiative is just one of several recent updates to DHL's broader sustainability and corporate social responsibility program.

Other new options include DHL's completion of a deployment of 30 battery-powered electric vans and 50 hybrid trucks in Manhattan. The vehicles will produce about 50 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional options, according to the company. The deployment was made in conjunction with ConEdison, which is providing green-generated electricity to keep the vehicles charged.

DHL, like other companies in the delivery and logistics space, has also launched a service that allows its customers to offset the carbon emissions impact of their shipments. Interested DHL customers will incur service charge that will be put toward Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) environmental protection projects. One of DHL's global customers, Standard Chartered Bank, already has signed a worldwide contract under the new program.

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