Is Your Cargo Behind Schedule? Your Shipping Company May Know Why

common shipping setbacks
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Shipping timelines are often stringent, and meeting deadlines is an essential aspect of maintaining customer expectations. Unfortunately, the fact is that cargo does not always arrive on time, as many factors can contribute to potentially delaying the arrival of your merchandise. In this blog we will cover those factors inherent to the carrier and in subsequent blogs we will deal with other causes of delays non related to the carriers.

Why Does Cargo Get Delayed

The best way to help avoid shipping delays when transporting cargo is being diligent. This means double-checking paperwork, ensuring all the details and information are correct and easy to understand. Take the time to find a reliable freight forwarder which will help reduce your risk of mistakes that could delay your cargo.

In some cases, the holdup is not due to a mistake on your end nor the freight forwarder. If you have thoroughly coordinated the shipping arrangements, and your cargo will end up arriving late, it may be due to carrier delays. Here are some common issues that may hinder the transportation time.

Intermodal Issues

Intermodal shipping involves the use of more than one mode of transportation. This method is often the most cost-efficient way to get your goods to their destination and typically combines train and trucking to help cross long distances. However, this also means that there is twice the risk when it comes to shipping delays.

Let’s say you have an ocean shipment set up to go from St. Louis, MO to Buenos Aires, Argentina and it will sail out of the port of Houston, TX; the domestic intermodal leg will involve truck and rail to move it to the port of sailing. If the trucking company mixes up the paperwork that accompanies your goods – this could mean that your cargo won’t meet the cut-off at the rail ramp, therefore your cargo will miss the vessel cut off in Houston, even though everything went smoothly initially.

Mechanical Problems

Of course, some issues are beyond human control, like engine failure or mechanical troubles. Just like with cars; shipping vessels, trucks, airplanes, and trains need to be serviced, and sometimes something malfunctions – this could mean delays for your cargo. Often ocean carriers notify their customers that vessel departure is delayed due to mechanical problems. Same happens with cargo airlines. A reliable freight forwarder will keep you informed of these delays and will advise on what to expect.

Lack of Equipment

Another reason that your merchandise is delayed in transit may be due to a lack of equipment at origin or destination. Let’s say you organize an international shipment and you have requested a 45’ container to load in Boston, MA bound to Germany; however after booking has been confirmed by the carrier, you receive a notification from your cargo agent indicating that the carrier has not been able to locate an empty 45’ container in the area and they do not foresee availability for one in the upcoming week. Many other times container availability is not the only problem, but the lack of trucks to move the equipment from the shipper’s location to the port or the rail ramp.

In other instances, the lack of equipment is a problem at the destination port. The merchandise arrives at the port by the estimated date, but there is a shortage of chassis or other necessary equipment for the cargo to continue the journey smoothly to final destination.

In the end shortage of equipment is a today’s real problem for the industry and are an important cause of setbacks.

Unexpected Schedule Changes

As we mentioned, shipping arrangements usually operate under certain time restrictions. Your shipping company may operate under specific schedules that you must adhere to in order to get your goods where they need to go. That means any unexpected deviations from the predetermined schedule will inevitably lead to delays in arrival time for your shipments.

The causes of these changes can vary: such as unexpected issues at the port of call of your cargo, which will cause that vessel will skip this port to meet the timeline for the other ports and when issue is normalized it will return; other times a mechanical problem of a vessel causes a change in the itinerary of the vessel carrying your cargo since now this vessel will accommodate cargo from the vessel in trouble; same situation happens with airlines.

A Comprehensive Freight Forwarding Company Can Help

While certain elements cannot be controlled, it is imperative to be prepared for all circumstances when it comes to global logistics. At Promptus LLC, we offer patients ocean shipping, warehouse and distribution services, and access to Licensed Customs Brokers to help ensure all your documentation is accurate and adequately presented. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to get a free quote for our services!