palm tree lightning storm ocean striking weather

Shipment Didn’t Arrive on Time? Here are 9 Possible Reasons Why

MTS Logistics
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February 29, 2012

– By Lauga Oskarsdottir, MTS Logistics

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 cannot 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

palm tree lightning storm ocean striking weather
Ships anchored off Port Everglades, Florida in 2007

  2. Port Congestion

aqaba port terminal apm
Aqaba, Jordan, image courtesy APM Terminals

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

global ship routing routes lanes

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

8. Somali pirates hijacked the vessel

liquid velvet captured by pirates
MT Liquid Velvet, hijacked by pirates in October 2011

9. The vessel broke

mv rena astrolabe reef broke apart

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.

Lauga is originally from Iceland, and is a Sales and Marketing Executive for MTS Logistics. Lauga has experience as a Sales Manager for a large fitness corporation in Oslo, Norway before she moved to New York in 2009 to pursue a Business Management degree at Berkeley.


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