DHL Worldwide Express Division
When DHL Worldwide Express was launched in 1979 as a division of Airfreight Ltd. (hereafter referred to as DHL India to distinguish it from its overseas ally which we refer to as DHL Worldwide), it ushered in the era of air express business in India. The DHL Division enjoyed considerable autonomy in its working right from the start.
Mr. Cyrus Guzder joined the Airfreight Limited in 1968 and took over as its Managing Director in 1981 and as Chairman and Managing Director in 1984. He was instrumental in setting up the DHL operations in India in 1978 and thereafter in establishing the framework within which the industry operated later on.
The association with DHL Worldwide started in 1978, when DHL Worldwide approached Air-freight with a proposal to commence express operations, with Airfreight Ltd. doing the pick-ups and deliveries on DHL's behalf. "Frankly, we did not see this as an interesting business", said Mr.
Guzder in an interview with the case writers. But DHL persisted and together the executives of DHL and Airfreight went round meeting shipping companies and banks. They discovered that invariably there were consignments in the harbour held up for lack of documents to clear the cargo. Clearly, if these documents could be delivered before the arrival of the vessels, these ex-pensive delays could be avoided. DHL and Airfreight executives realised that there was a size-able market waiting to be tapped. Banks, especially foreign banks, were also keen to get their documents quickly, since even a day's saving in getting the document could save them millions of dollars. Thus, slowly and steadily, a business was built up that involved courier delivery of documents.
Unlike most Indian joint ventures, it was DHL Worldwide which made the first approach to Airfreight Ltd., since DHL Worldwide sensed...