The COVID-19 outbreak caused significant harm to the world’s supply chains. Lockdowns, labor scarcity, and prolonged port turnaround times have worsened global supply chain issues and shipping delays.
Both retailers and customers have been affected by these issues. 60% of US consumers said they could not obtain a product because of shortages. Furthermore, according to the US Census Bureau, 38.8% of small firms in the US experienced supply chain disruptions or delays due to COVID-19.
Retailers not only lose money by not being able to carry popular items, but their relationships with customers suffer as well. One to three supply chain delays or disruptions, according to 58% of consumers, would cause them to completely stop purchasing from a company.
This article will outline the primary causes and offer advice for reducing delivery delays.
What Causes Shipping Delays?
Various factors can cause shipping delays, although some are far more often than others. Here are a few of the most frequent reasons why shipments delay.
Without the people who choose and pack orders, load and unload goods, sort them, and convey them to the designated location, the shipping industry cannot run. Any labor-related problems can significantly impact the sector and cause costly delays.
Factory and warehouse breakouts during the COVID epidemic were major contributors to delivery delays. Economic considerations, labor shortages, and strikes can all cause labor-related issues that cause shipping delays.
The correct paperwork and documents are critical for a seamless shipping process. Issues with the documentation can contribute to shipping delays, affecting the entire process. It can present challenges at all points and stages, from the origin point through clearing customs to arrival at the shipping destination. Let us look at some errors you need to keep in mind.
You will need to get your documentation checked at the port of origin while loading and unloading, during transfers, and clearing customs. Clear and readable handwriting can help ensure your products keep moving. Particularly during customs clearance, unclear handwriting, and blurry prints can increase the chances of shipping delays. Also, make sure to protect your documentation from moisture to avoid smudging.
Shipping requires documentation such as commercial invoice, bill of lading, and origin certificate. The custom inspection can get longer in case of any missing documents. As such, it can delay shipping.
Missing Export License
An export license is necessary for overseas transportation of commercial shipping. A missing or expired export license can mean shipment denial from the country of origin. As a result, it can slow down the supply chain.
Supply Chain Disruption
Several things can disrupt the supply chain, leading to business shipping delays. While disruption can have various causes, it is often related to capacity restrictions, port congestion, and supply chain shortages. Building supply chain resilience is an effective way to prevent supply chain disruptions. Consider backup suppliers and distribute inventory.
Sudden Changes in Consumer Habits
Any modifications in global consumer behavior immediately impact the shipping sector.
For instance, customer tastes have shifted towards online shopping and eCommerce globally during the past two years. Due to this, there was more than ever a cross-border demand for goods. But, the growth of infrastructure and the construction of boats could not keep up with the quick rise.
This was a significant factor in the global supply chain delays for both commodities and ships. In fact, estimates claim that 42% of online buyers abandoned shopping carts because of extended delivery periods.
On national and international holidays, many carriers follow closures so that orders won’t be picked up or shipped on those days. Even a one-day lag might cause substantial backlogs and bottlenecks that prolong shipping.
Over the holidays, merchants usually see a spike in orders. Couriers may become overworked as a result of the increase in shipment volumes, particularly if they don’t have an efficient delivery network infrastructure. Delivery delays might happen when customers want their items to arrive on time the most. 25% of US consumers said that during the 2021 Christmas season, delivery delays were a very big issue.
Significant shipping delays might also result from bad weather and natural calamities. At the most fundamental level, poor visibility and hazardous circumstances could make traveling by air, sea, or land difficult. In more dire circumstances, hurricanes, floods, landslides, and earthquakes may result in delays of several days.
Things just happen sometimes. When they do, it has an impact on global shipping. Recent instances include:
Due to COVID, equipment and labor became scarce in many nations. An unexpected increase in demand has caused port congestion and shipping delays as the sector continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Factory-to-door delivery times nearly doubled on important shipping corridors as COVID-19 restrictions loosened in 2021. Nonetheless, backlog and congestion continue to be the main causes of shipment delays.
Due to the conflict in Ukraine, major Russian ports were shut down, and Black Sea operations ended. Major commodity imports and exports were negatively impacted. These unanticipated occurrences had disastrous implications for the shipping sector as a whole and the supply chain network.
A Checklist to Prevent Shipping Delays
What you can do to avoid and handle delays in shipments is as follows:
Choose Reputable Providers
- Pay special attention to the performance and experience ratings of your providers.
- Arrange any additional services required to deliver your goods in advance to prevent surprises.
- Use recognized service providers you can rely on
Verify Your Providers Are In Agreement
- To guarantee each shipment is delivered on time, clearly distinguish shipments from the same provider.
- To maintain effective communication, provide your supplier with up-to-date contact details for your freight forwarder and vice versa.
- Ascertain that all of your suppliers have the appropriate reference number for your products.
Verify That All The Paperwork Is In Order.
- Ensure that your products are categorized using the proper HS code.
- Review all the paperwork about your shipment more thoroughly.
- To file documents on time, collaborate with your providers.
A Smooth Warehouse Drop Off Can Be Arranged By Working with Your Forwarder
- Make arrangements for prompt freight collection following unloading.
- Reserve a warehouse space in advance.
- Make sure any particular equipment needed for handling is ready in advance.
- Ask your freight forwarder to provide you with the anticipated arrival time at the port.
Prepare In Advance to Avoid Running Out Of Inventory
- Consider the factors that can prevent shipment delays, but keep in mind that some delays cannot be prevented.
- Have a reserve of goods for markets that delays are likely to affect.
- Distribute inventory among many warehouses to reduce transit times and expenses.
While shipping delays may not always be preventable, you can lessen their negative effects on your company. Remember to inform your clients of any delays so they know their orders’ progress as you manage potential delays. The likelihood of strained relationships and complaints will be reduced as a result.