Delays are an unfortunate but inevitable part of the shipping business. Learn about the most common reasons for shipping delays in preparation for your next shipment!
1. Global Events
You probably remember hearing about supply chain issues during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much of the world on lockdown, it was impossible to continue the flow of goods as scheduled. While this was an extreme situation, global events cause shipping delays quite frequently. Much of the time, these events aren’t predictable and cannot be planned around, causing serious disruptions to the plans and schedules of logistics managers. Global events will continue to cause delays in shipping for the foreseeable future, even with advancements in technology, this is unfortunately an issue here to stay.
2. Busy Season
High shipment volumes cause delays in all kinds of shipping. It is a classic case of high demand and low supply and often necessitates a surcharge for customers. Sometimes, the best option to avoid busy season delays is to break up large shipments and send cargo in waves. For shipments that are able to be broken up and sent separately, that is typically the best option to avoid both delays and surcharges during peak season.
3. Weather Conditions
As New Englanders, we know all too well the disruptions that weather conditions can cause in day to day life, never mind the movement of goods around the world. Whether it’s icy, slick roads here in New England, hurricanes causing serious waves in the Pacific, or a mudslide in Southeast Asia, weather is only so predictable and certainly beyond the control of your logistics manager. Working with an experienced logistics company is your best bet to avoid significant weather-related delays, as they will have the knowledge and experience to know how to best plan around inclement weather.
4. Incorrect Paperwork
One of the more common and most frustrating causes of delays is inaccurate documentation. Not having the proper paperwork is unacceptable in any form of shipping. There are so many regulations and laws involved in shipping cargo so having the right paperwork for shipping is imperative. It’s not just the first steps of the shipping process that can be delayed due to paperwork, it’s all throughout the process, such as not being able to get into a port or the country of destination. Some of the most common issues with paperwork is documents missing, unclear writing, and incorrect labels.
5. Port Congestion
In the last few years (mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic), ports have been struggling with staffing issues as of late, making it even more challenging to get ships in and out in a smooth manner. Often times, shipments will arrive on time but there are serious delays because of dwell time at the ports. While this is a massive and complex issue, there is one way to make sure your cargo reaches its final destination on time; planning for dwell time. This way, you are expecting your shipment to take longer than it should so you can ensure port congestion doesn’t cause you to have upset customers.