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How to Avoid Common Freight Shipping Delays

The health and success of many businesses hinge on the capability to ship products efficiently. In 2021, we are dealing with numerous shipping delays that are disrupting supply chains around the world and causing product shortages. Below we'll review the top causes of freight shipping delays, as well as steps you can take to help ensure your shipment arrives on time.

Weather Delays

One thing is for certain, no one can control the weather, and even top meteorologists can't always agree on a consensus. Due to these facts, freight shipping delays are bound to happen due to inclement weather. From blistering winter storms that cause slippery roads, to flash flooding that can make lanes unpassable, and hurricane-force winds that affect the ability for large trucks to drive or planes to fly, delays can occur if your shipment passes through an impacted region with poor weather.

Traffic Delays

Another cause of delayed shipments is traffic. Very simply, your carrier and freight could be stuck in traffic. Because freight trucks must travel the same road as other vehicles, accidents, traffic jams and road construction can lead to major delays.

Extraordinary Event Delays

COVID-19 stressed the supply chain across the globe with an unprecedented amount of people buying online. Even though most processes are back up and running, we are likely to feel the ripple effect from the pandemic for some time to come. For example, the latest COVID-19 vaccines are still being transported nationwide, which bolsters the need for cold truck shipping solutions. On the other hand, some carriers may experience driver availability issues due to the virus. All of these factors can lead to delayed shipments and container shipping delays. Additionally, we had the disruption caused by the boat, Ever Given, getting stuck in the Suez Canal, one of the busiest trade routes in the world, which is still having a rippling effect.

Seasonal Delays

Online commerce and shipping are booming. This already vibrant industry elevates to epic proportions during holidays and peak seasons. In fact, seasonal e-commerce jumped to 47.2% in 2020, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. While more sales are almost always good, more demand means fewer trucks and an increased likelihood of delayed shipments.

Tips to Avoid Delayed Shipments

As the shipper, it's imperative to understand all delivery and shipping estimates are just that — estimates. Even the best carriers will run into circumstances that are beyond their control. However, here are some tips to help avoid delayed shipments and mitigate the impact.

Consider Expedited Shipping

When shipping during the peak holiday season or inclement weather months, you can increase the likelihood of a speedy delivery with expedited shipment options. If your delivery is time-sensitive, an expedited shipment option could best meet the recipient's needs as these shipments have priority over others.

Watch the Weather

Even though the weather may be gorgeous where you are, your freight could be battling torrential rainstorms, hurricanes and more. As such, it's important for you to check the area your shipment will pass through. Armed with this knowledge, you can take action to update your customer about the delay or work with your third-party logistics (3PL) provider to check the box on accessorial services that can help.

Plan for Contingencies

Those who fail to plan are truly planning to fail. And nothing could be truer when it comes to shipping freight and cargo. Creating a disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan can help keep your business on track in the event of a disruption or disaster. Make sure to include how shipping delays should be handled in the contingency plan. Consider the peak season for your business, the time sensitivity of shipments, and any special packaging needs.

Partner with a 3PL Provider

By partnering with a 3PL partner like Unishippers, you'll immediately gain access to a cutting-edge Transportation Management System (TMS) and shipping experts to offer you better insight and information along the way. Your Unishippers shipping consultant is available to help your business determine the best path forward. Specifically, we will help you ask the right questions to make the right decision:

  • Are there any accessorial services your cargo would benefit from?
  • Should you choose expedited shipping?
  • Who is the right carrier to ship the cargo?
  • How can I get the best rates on my shipment?
  • And more

Let Unishippers Enhance Shipping Operations for Your Business

As your customers expect faster shipments, Unishippers can help you meet the demand. We offer 65+ shipping carriers to choose from as well as a cutting-edge TMS designed to empower you to quickly compare your options, track your shipment and more. Contact Unishippers today to experience the difference and savings.