Cargo delays are commonplace. Some occur on the originating end, others on arrival. And while we can blame most delays on the pandemic, many are avoidable with the right approach. Working with a proactively-minded 3PL gives you better freight visibility and predictability and ensures your processes are aligned from end-to-end.
Why is My Cargo Delayed?
There are myriad reasons your cargo might be held up at some point on its journey. Here are some of the most common:
1. External events
The pandemic has brought more changes to logistics than just about anything else in history. From changing customer buying habits to port closures, trade embargoes, container shortages, and bottlenecks in major shipping lanes, there’s nothing here even a genie could have predicted. The only solution is to partner with a proactive cargo specialist who is always on top of events that might affect timelines and has the connections and insight to get ahead of those issues when they emerge.
2. Traffic and schedule changes
Carriers are constantly challenged by traffic, especially during seasonal surge times. Factory closures, either due to holidays or staff shortages, often create unavoidable delays. Factor in additional time during peak season to minimize delays and let your customers know in advance that they may experience delays. A 3PL with experience in route optimization can also reduce these holdups.
3. Customs-related problems
Export businesses often face customs delays, most often due to improperly completed or submitted documents. Working with an experienced customs house broker who understands the documentation process is the best way to avoid this delay.
4. Confusion and lack of clarity
Certain expectations must be met at every link in the supply chain. Some of these actions might be your responsibility, while others need to be taken care of by the receiving party. Ensure that all stakeholders clearly understand expectations to mitigate any confusion.
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5. Lack of technology
Technology is essential to achieving supply chain visibility. Choose a logistics partner that is fully digitized, and you’ll always know where your shipments are at any given time. Technology also enables direct and instant communication between stakeholders to ensure everyone is informed of potential problems and provides detailed reporting to support business planning.
6. Port related problems
Strikes and port congestion are exceedingly common these days. Employee shortages, Covid outbreaks, or union issues that halt work completely can result in delays that last weeks.
7. Delayed production
Just as you may face delays when shipping your own goods, your suppliers have the same problems. Planning some buffer time is the best way to minimize delays, although sometimes it’s unavoidable. Working with reliable suppliers is always the best strategy.
8. Damaged cargo
Delays due to damage can be avoided by ensuring your goods are packaged and crated properly. Using the right materials, palletizing when possible, and labeling and classifying goods according to their specific requirements. Of course, disasters happen, and not all losses and damage can be avoided. Having the right insurance protects you and your customers from additional financial loss.
To mitigate the risk of cargo delays, you need transparent communication, a proactive approach, and an experienced logistics partner like DTS World Cargo. Get in touch today; we’d love to learn more about your cargo needs and show you how we can help.