5 Common Reasons for Shipping Delays & How You Can Prevent Them

Jan., 4 2023

If you’re in business, then you know that late deliveries are one of the most common — and frustrating — occurrences. Not only do they throw off your entire schedule, but they can also cost you money in terms of lost productivity and customers.

There are a number of reasons why shipments are delayed, but some are more common than others. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at five of the most common reasons for shipping delays and what you can do to prevent them.

Table of Contents:


What causes eCommerce Delivery Delays?
There can be many reasons for eCommerce delivery delays. Some of the most common include:

  • Poor planning and organization
  • Incorrect Documentation
  • Global Events
  • Supply Chain Issues
  • Weather conditions


Reason #1: Poor Planning and Organization
Poor planning and organization can be detrimental to companies with logistics services. Especially during peak seasons. Peak seasons are times during the year when higher-than-usual volumes of freight are shipped.

Peak Season Means High Demand and Low Supply. During peak season, your freight may be delayed due to high-volume order processing.

It is a classic example of high demand and low supply, which puts pressure on the supply chain and logistics network. Peak season is one of the top reasons for delays. It can also lead to higher freight costs or a peak season surcharge.

To help avoid peak season delays, many importers and exporters break their goods into smaller shipments and ship in advance.

To avoid delivery delays, it is important to plan and organize your eCommerce business well. You should also have a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Good communication with your customers is also essential to avoid any misunderstandings.


Reason #2: Incorrect Documentation
One of the most common reasons for delayed deliveries is incorrect or incomplete address information. Make sure that the address information you provide is complete and correct. Another common reason for delays is insufficient or incorrect documentation. Make sure that you have all the required documentation in order before you place your order.

Customs delays are also a common reason for eCommerce delivery delays. To avoid customs delays, make sure you are familiar with the customs regulations of the country you are shipping to.

If you are shipping internationally, another common reason for eCommerce delivery delays is unexpected security checks. To avoid these delays, make sure you are familiar with the security regulations of the country you are shipping to.

Missing paperwork
Freight shipping requires essential paperwork including a bill of lading, commercial invoice, origin certificate, and any relevant special certificates (if any). Delivery is delayed because missing documentation results in a longer customs examination. 

Inaccurate content description
The clearance procedure is slowed down by errors in little data like the HS code, the nation of origin, and the product characteristics, which may even result in a cargo being refused entrance.

Blurry writing
From the port of origin to loading, unloading, transfers, and customs, all of your documentation is scrutinized. Speed up the movement of your items using legible handwriting. Uncertain or hazy print won't be given the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to customs clearance, and will probably cause delays.
To prevent ink blurring, keep your papers out of the rain or other wet conditions.

Improper labels
Important information about your shipment is on the shipping labels. In rare circumstances, incorrect labelling might lead to a delay in customs clearance or lost shipment. 

Missing export license
An export license is necessary for commercial shipments to be transported internationally. The shipment might not be allowed to leave the nation of origin if your export license is missing or expired, which would slow down your entire supply chain.

Documentation is a hassle, but it’s one area where attention to detail upfront can prevent delays. So, make sure to:

Check that all your paperwork is in order, updated, and legible

Create (and follow!) a checklist before shipping your goods of all the required documents. Work with trusted partners to avoid errors.


Reason #3: Global Events 
Sometimes things just happen. And when they do, they affect international shipping. Some recent examples include:

Due to COVID, equipment and labour 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.

On important Asian to US shipping corridors, factory-to-door delivery times nearly doubled as COVID-19 restrictions loosened in 2021. Since the beginning of 2022, the typical transit times between China and the US have been rapidly decreasing. However, backlog and congestion continue to be one of the main causes of shipment delays.

Russia-Ukraine War
Due to the conflict in Ukraine, major Russian ports were shut down, and Black Sea operations came to an end. 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.


Reason #4: Supply Chain Issues 
39% of brands say shipping and manufacturing delays and shipping costs will continue to be a top supply-chain-related challenge over the next 12 months.

For example, over the past two years, consumer preferences around the world tilted toward online shopping and eCommerce. This led to higher than-ever cross-border demand for products. The production of vessels and development of infrastructure, however, couldn’t keep up with the sudden increase.

This was a major reason for the delay in the delivery of goods and vessel delays across the supply chain globally. In fact, according to reports, 42% of online shoppers abandoned their carts due to long delivery times.


Reason #5: Weather Conditions
Last but not least, bad weather can also delay eCommerce deliveries. Before shipping your items, make sure to verify the weather.

The safety of every delivery business must come first. Due to the weather, road closures inevitably result in delays from sluggish transit.

There is only so much delivery businesses can do to guarantee on-time delivery, as frustrating as it may be for clients when weather circumstances determine the pace of delivery.
These measures can help you prevent delays in eCommerce deliveries.


What is causing shipping delays in 2022?
The past year has been hard on manufacturers, shippers, and logistics companies alike. The pandemic has forced everyone to confront the many challenges of a globalized supply chain. One of the most pressing issues has been shipping delays. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, there were widespread delays in the delivery of goods. This was due to a number of factors, including the closure of factories in China and the increased demand for goods from homebound consumers. 

Now, as the world starts to reopen, there are still delays in shipping, but for different reasons. 


How can delayed delivery be prevented?
Delay in the delivery of goods is not only irritating but also results in the loss of business. Often, the delay is beyond the control of the manufacturing or selling company. In such cases, the best thing to do is to inform the customer in advance and keep them updated about the situation. 
There are a few things that can be done to prevent delays in delivery. First, the company should keep an accurate and updated database of all its customers. This will help in identifying potential problems and solving them before they lead to delays.

Second, the company should have a good working relationship with its suppliers. This will ensure that the supplies are delivered on time and in the correct quantities.

Third, the company should have a good transportation system in place. Including having a good fleet management system and route optimizer in place. This will help to get the goods to the customer on time. 

Fourth, the company should have a good system of communication with its customers. This will help to keep them updated about the status of their order and delivery.

Fifth, the company should have a good system of quality control. This will help to ensure that items are ready to be sent out for delivery

It is a well-known fact that late delivery is one of the main causes of customer dissatisfaction. In fact, according to a study by Forrester, 43% of customers say that they are likely to switch to a competitor after just one instance of delayed delivery. To avoid this, the company should implement the steps above to prevent delays.


How do you improve delivery time?
In order to improve delivery time, it is important to identify the root causes of delays and take corrective action. In some cases, it may be necessary to make changes to the manufacturing process or the supply chain. In other cases, it may be possible to improve delivery time by providing incentives for early payment or by increasing the frequency of deliveries.

  • Utilize technology in logistics
  • Plan & Schedule in Advance
  • Avoid Attempts at Failed Delivery
  • Provide real-time tracking of shipments
  • Get Accurate Routing with Route Planner Software like uRoute


How Does uRoute Help You Avoid Delivery Delays?
With routing logistics software like uRoute, you do not have to plan delivery routes manually. Get accurately optimized route plans for making timely deliveries to your customers. 

Even plan and schedule faster delivery routes in advance with uRoute. It optimizes and schedules your routes months in advance, so all you must do is pull out the routes on the given date and start delivering.

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