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Insider’s Guide to Shipping Delays: Addressing Common Issues

Delays in shipping can make the customers and owners extremely frustrated, resulting in high end operational costs and unhappy user experiences. Most of the times these delays are unexpected & often out of one’s hand. In this article, we will delve into top 10 reasons for shipping delays and how MOVD provides the best solution to eradicate shipping delays.

10 Reasons & Cause of Shipping Delays

Many businesses are embracing cutting-edge technology to enhance on-time delivery, aiming to fortify supply chains, streamline operations, increase profitability, and elevate user experiences. A recent survey conducted by Redwood shed light on the primary challenges encountered by businesses in shipping and supply chain management.

Common Shipping Challenges faced by Businesses
(Score 1 being least difficult to score 5 being most difficult)
Source: Redwood

They also highlighted on-time delivery and high-level services as the most significant qualities for choosing supply chain management. As this not only helps in supply demand, but also facilitates customer expectations and builds trust in the company. Thereby, ensuring smooth operations and better customer relations.

Let’s explore the top 10 reasons for shipping delays in details and see how MOVD provides a comprehensive solution to overcome these.

Incorrect Documentation

Lack of proper documentations and paperwork leads to delays throughout the shipping process. Documentation and paperwork is essential from leaving the point of origin, to arriving at the shipping destination and clearing customs results. Common errors includes:

  1. Missing Paperwork: Bill of landing, commercial invoice, origin certificate and other special certificates are essential for freight shipping. If these documents are missing, it leads to prolonged custom inspections, resulting in shipping delays.
  2. Inaccurate Description: Incorrect or missing product specifications, country of origin, or HS code details slow down the clearance process. Consequently, this delay affects the shipping process.
  3. Writing Issue: Since every step of the process, from loading to unloading, transfers, and customs, checks the documents. Proper handwriting and description allows the process to be smooth. If the writing is blurry or unclear, the process, especially custom clearance, stops.
  4. Improper Labels: Improper shipping labels can result in delayed custom clearance or misplace cargo. Since the shipping labels provides vital information about your cargo . Thus, lack of proper labels leads to delays in shipping process.
  5. Missing Export License: To transport commercial shipments overseas, you need an export license. If this license is missing or has expired, authorities might refuse to let the shipment exit the country of origin, resulting in delays throughout your entire supply chain.

To overcome improper documentation issue, make sure that:

  • All paperwork is in order, updated and legible with proper signatures of the person ensuring at every step.
  • A checklist of all the necessary documents required is created and marked before shipping the goods.
  • Getting an enterprise software that automates the entire process and allows E-documents like MOVD, can help remove unnecessary errors. Thus, also allowing to generate proprietary and regulatory data in compliance with each carrier’s format.

Peak Seasons

Peak Season refers to the times when higher-than-usual- volumes of freight are shipped. For ocean freight, this begin in August when back-to-school shopping starts. Followed by in November when businesses prepares for the US holiday season. In some East Asian Countries, Lunar New Year in late January-early February also pauses the production and exports.

During these seasons, high demand and low supply results in extra pressure on the logistics network & supply chain. Therefore, it is one of the top reasons for shipping delay.

To overcome the issue of peak season, make sure that:

  • Break goods into smaller shipments and ship in advance.
  • Pair with reliable warehouses beforehand so that you can stock your goods earlier.
  • Incorporate software, that gives timely alerts and notifications on delays and errors, like that in MOVD.

Sudden Shift in Consumer Behavior

Since the world is shifting towards digitalization and advance technology. There is a sudden shift in global consumer habits, that drastically impacts shipping process.

For example, in the past 2 years sudden rise in online shopping and eCommerce, resulted in higher cross-border demand for goods. As a result, the production of vessels and development of infrastructure suffered. They couldn’t keep up with the sudden increase in demands. According to repots, about 42% online shoppers abandoned their carts due to delays in shipping process.

To overcome the challenge of consumer behavior, it is important that:

  • A CRM system incorporated can help identify trends in customer behaviors such as MOVD’s CRM provides 360 degree view.

Trucking and Transportation Issues

Older transportation planning software considers a smaller range of parameters within the shipping operation. It doesn’t account for broader risks affecting the enterprise and its customers. These planning solutions leave shipments vulnerable to volatility. This vulnerability often results in shipping delays.

To overcome the trucking and transport issues, companies should:

  • Incorporate transport planning solutions that integrates supply chain planning, warehouse availability and shipping execution. This will give them real-time risk measurement across the supply chain.
  • Providing real-time feedback between demand and transport planning, execution and forecasting processes can help both the shipper and customer be on same page.

Lack of planning for extra equipment

According to different estimates, about 3000 people work tirelessly with equipment for 3 days to unload a vessel with 20,000 containers. This results in unexpected delays based on worker strength and thus results in issues with the operational costs.

To overcome the issue of lack of planning for extra equipment, moving companies should:

  • Collaborate with freight forwarder and anticipate any additional equipment’s needed to handle cargo.
  • Choosing a reliable trucking services can help know about the cost estimates and cargo space availability beforehand.
  • Ensuring all permits are cleared beforehand can help ensure smooth movement of cargo immediately after unloading.

Port Congestion and traffic

US port faced severe port congestion due to shortage of manpower, storage and handling equipment. Even when the shipping arrived on time, there were long waiting hours before unloading. According to reports, the following stats revealed:

  1. Oakland Port, in 2022 had an average dwell time of 7 days that made it worst ports for congestion.
  2. Long Beach, Charleston, LA also followed Oakland Port in terms of vessel delays and port congestion.

To overcome the issue of port congestion and traffic, it is recommended:

  • To include buffer time in your shipment plan so that unexpected delays are covered.
  • Use ERP and software systems that provide real-time visibility, ensuring a holistic view of the port current situation and keeps you updated on the shipment and cargo loading- unloading.

Weather Conditions and Anomalies

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that weather causes 23% of all roadway delays. This results in over 32 billion lost vehicle hours annually, costing trucking companies up to $3.5 billion. Hence weather conditions, contribute to be one of the top 10 reasons for shipping delays.

Rain, freezing temperatures, high winds, and snowstorms slow traffic and increase accidents. Extreme weather events like severe thunderstorms sideline, divert, and damage trucks, ships, trains, and aircraft. These events are shorter-lived, unpredictable, very localized, and challenging to manage in logistics.

To overcome this issue, ensure that:

  • There is a digital planning and execution system that has scheduling option. Which not only tells about routes but also about scheduled pickups and deliveries. Thus, allowing shippers to automatically reroute vehicles to minimize the impact of weather hazards.

Insufficient Carrier Capacity

Securing carrier capacity can be a significant challenge for shippers, often leading to difficulties in meeting delivery commitments. The freight markets are highly susceptible to volatility due to various factors. One major contributing factor is the lack of clear visibility and accurate forecasting of both shipper demand and carrier capacity. This uncertainty creates fluctuations in individual marketplaces, making it hard for shippers to secure the necessary transportation resources.

To address this issue, it is essential:

  • To integrate digital freight markets and brokerages into your company’s Transportation Management System (TMS).
  • When choosing vendors, prioritize those that offer Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for tasks such as posting loads, booking, tendering, and tracking shipments.
  • By incorporating digital solutions into your supply chain operations, you can leverage the growing trend of digitization within the industry. Digital freight markets offer a platform where demand and capacity can be matched more efficiently, thus reducing volatility in the marketplace.
  • By utilizing shipper forecasting, planning, and execution processes, carriers gain better visibility into demand patterns. This allows carriers to make more informed decisions regarding capacity allocation, pricing strategies, and scheduling.

Lost Freight & Failed Deliveries

Carriers lose packages for many reasons, especially with multiple hub and vehicle transfers in the transportation network. Similarly, when a customer can’t receive a shipment, the reattempted delivery often ends up being late. Leaving delivery issues for customers to handle is common, but it means missing a chance to offer timely delivery and better service.

To overcome this issue:

  • Take charge of ensuring the customer gets their freight on time by proactively monitoring and notifying them about deliveries.
  • “Ship Notification” with a shipment tracking link and ETA when the freight is tendered.
  • “Out for delivery” to remind the customer about the impending delivery and offer a convenient link for rescheduling if needed.
  • “Missed delivery” with a link for contacting the carrier to arrange a new delivery time.


In today’s changing landscape, businesses need to be agile and proactive in dealing with supply chain challenges. They must swiftly address delays and implement strategies to minimize disruptions. Enhancing visibility and preparing for obstacles are crucial. By mastering shipping intricacies, businesses can ensure timely deliveries and customer satisfaction in the global market.

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