Prohibited & Restricted Commodities for Shipping with DHL

facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Smart Share Buttons Icon Share

DHL Express is the best courier service in Singapore if you are looking to ship your parcels across the globe seamlessly and safely. But, before booking your packages with DHL, it is essential to learn about the terms and conditions of your shipment, especially for prohibited and restricted goods. This will ensure that your shipment is fully compliant with DHL’s rules which ensures your package reaches your customers on time.


DHL courier

Let us first break down the difference between prohibited and restricted commodities.

What are restricted items?

To receive such approval for shipping restricted items, the sender must present the relevant documentation and certifications confirming that they are authorised to ship the goods in question and specifying the terms of the transportation service.

List of DHL Express Restricted Items

All the items listed below are subjected to specific country guidelines depending on where you are sending your parcel to. Check the individual country-wise regulation over here.

  • Antiques and works of art
  • Dry ice
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Perfumes
  • Commemorative coins and medals
  • Watches and jewellery

What are prohibited items?

DHL Express considers prohibited items as any items that are not permitted to be shipped under any circumstances, whether by a person or a business.

List of DHL Express Prohibited Items

  • Bullion
  • Currency
  • Animals including hatching eggs and insects
  • Human remains including ashes
  • Counterfeit or pirated goods
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Hazardous or combustible materials
  • Knives
  • Pornography
  • Negotiable tools in Bearer form
  • Irreplaceable items (any item that is not commonly available)

How will DHL identify prohibited items being shipped in a parcel?

Under these following three circumstances, DHL Express owns full rights to open and inspect a shipment’s contents.

a)  Odour or signs of leakage from the package: While stains on the container could suggest a leak, a foul odour could indicate a perishable item that has gone bad. In both circumstances, the depot staffs have a valid reason to inspect the package.

b) Inappropriate packing: In the event of a suspected prohibited item spotted due to damaged packaging, DHL will proceed with a closer inspection.

c) Suspicious shape of the package: If the packing resembles that of a prohibited item, DHL personnel will proceed to examine it. When sending materials that do not fall under prohibited commodities, pack them properly to minimise confusion.

What are the consequences of shipping these commodities with DHL

DHL does not provide insurance or liability coverage for shipments that contain any item on its prohibited shipping list. If the restricted or prohibited item is discovered by our delivery agents during collection, they may refuse to pick up the parcel without the option of a refund.

In case the items are discovered via normal or customs checks during transit, the goods may be destroyed or returned to the sender. When this happens, DHL will contact you to notify you of the next steps.

Therefore, we highly advise against providing inaccurate information or intentionally lowering the worth of your goods to avoid taxation. Your shipment will be withheld by the customs officers if detected and you will risk facing penalties upon conviction for shipping prohibited items.

How can you avoid transporting restricted or prohibited items?

If you're unsure whether you can ship a specific item from Singapore to another country, read the destination country’s rules and regulations and their list of forbidden items before your shipment.

Besides, our shipping professionals at DHL are well-versed with local customs rules in every country to make sure your shipments are handled smoothly with care. Our in-house team will be happy to provide advice on what you can or cannot ship in the event of any confusion you might have.

When you choose DHL Express as your overseas shipping partner, you can rest in confidence that everything will be managed by a committed team of international professionals right from the beginning of your parcel’s journey till the time it is delivered to your customers.