9 Possible Reasons Why Your Shipment Is Late


It can be extremely frustrating when your shipment does not arrive on time. Estimated transit time is meant to be as accurate as possible, so that the shipper can know when to expect their cargo and when to arrange a pick up. You have customers pushing you for a deadline, and in the end you end up being held accountable for the delay.

My colleague Onur was a Logistics Manager for a garment supplier for 10 years before he started working at MTS, and he used to tell his production if they asked why a shipment was late:

“Ships don’t have wings, they can not fly – they have to swim.”

You can try that one, and see if that gets them off your back… If that doesn’t work, let’s take a look at who the “real perpetrators” are, in most cases of delayed shipments:

Most likely scenario:
1. Bad weather

  2. Port Congestion

3. The vessel changed the routing and will make additional stops

4.  Space or equipment shortage on the vessel

Worst case scenario (knock on wood):

5. Your container was loaded at the wrong destination by accident

6. Port authorities can not locate your container

Let’s hope the Coast Guard does not need to get involved in finding it…

7. Your container was stolen

8. Somali pirates hijacked the vessel

9. The vessel broke

 Most cases of delays will be caused by either number 1, 2 or 3 on the above list. However, piracy, container theft, vessel damage and loading mistakes do unfortunately happen. With that being said, they are rare and highly unlikely to be the cause of your delay. The best thing you can do is be patient, and communicate consistently with your transportation partner – whether it is a freight forwarder or a steamship line. Make sure you get all the information available, so that you can communicate honestly and directly with your production, customers, retailers or whomever the delay may concern.