What Causes Shipping Delays? Common Shipping Problems in 2023 & How to Address Shipping Issues

Shipping delays can be frustrating for both businesses and customers. While some delays may be inevitable due to global events or unforeseen circumstances, several common shipping problems can be mitigated.

In 2021, an estimated 7% of all ecommerce orders suffered shipping delays, as reported by Narvar. Without Covid restrictions affecting the logistics industry, people still complain about late deliveries.

It is not due to a single factor but rather the combination of multiple issues contributing to delays.

As a customer, you also find it annoying when shipments arrive late or don’t show up. But you are not alone.

It happens to millions of orders every day. But what causes shipping delays? This blog will discuss some of the most common shipping problems in 2023 and how businesses can address them.

An Overview from 2020-2022: What in General Affected Shipping?

Unsurprisingly, the global pandemic has greatly impacted shipping in the past three years. While some countries could keep up with the demand for online shopping, others experienced extreme delays due to tightened logistics restrictions or supply chain issues.

In 2020 and 2021, many orders were delayed due to Covid-19-related restrictions, and customers faced longer shipping times. As logistics providers adjusted to the pandemic, customer service teams had to adjust their customer journey plans.

A lack of staff availability due to higher demand and/or illness resulted in warehouse backlogs worldwide. These issues compounded each other, resulting in significantly longer shipping times than normal.

Soon after, when we were going to have a normal world after a deadly Pandemic, Global Recession was waiting for us. Although we’re not officially into recession, several popular economists have said we’re facing a recession in 2023.

This has caused another wave of shipping delays, as companies had to adjust their processes and supply chain networks for the new economy.

As we are going towards the end of our 2023’s Q1, let’s look into the common shipping issues in 2023 and how to address them.

Top 11 Common Shipping Problems in 2023

Now that we have briefly discussed the causes of shipping delays let’s take a closer look at some of the most common shipping problems in 2023.

Global Emergencies

Global emergencies are one of the main reasons for shipping delays. This can include natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.

In 2020 and 2021, the major global emergency was the Covid-19 pandemic. Although vaccines are being rolled out, the virus is still a major concern for shippers, especially in regions with fewer restrictions.

The major war on the Russian-Ukrainian border also has been a cause of disruption to the global shipping network.

The latest Earth Quack that hit Turkey, Syria, and Libya has also disrupted the shipping industry. All these things are adding up to global shipping delays.

Supply Chain Disruptions

Nowadays, businesses are trying to manage their supply chains. But due to the recession, many companies are facing serious disruptions in their supply chain networks.

This is causing customer delays as shippers find it difficult to keep up with the demand.

It’s also a problem for businesses that depend on third-party logistics providers. Many of these providers are facing backlogs due to a lack of resources, resulting in delays. Even the E-commerce Giant-like Amazon is facing supply chain disruptions due to several factors like-unavailability of raw materials, higher shipping costs, and so on.

Manpower Shortages

The global pandemic and economic downturn have caused an acute shortage of manpower in the logistics industry. This leads to long wait times for shipments as companies struggle to keep up with rising demand while maintaining social distancing protocols.

In some cases, companies have had to reduce their workforce or close down temporary warehousing facilities due to a lack of staff.

The tech industry has seen a wave of layoffs in the past two years, with over 66,000 layoffs have been observed in the U.S. in 2023 alone.

This is on top of the 159,786 jobs that were cut by tech firms last year. Companies such as Yahoo, Disney, Zoom, Dell, PayPal, and others have all announced major layoffs this month. This has led to an increase in the average shipping time for online orders.

Weather Anomalies

Weather anomalies are also a major factor in shipping delays. In 2020, various parts of the world experienced extreme weather events that resulted in long transit times for goods and services.

For instance, in the UK, strong winds caused by Storm Dennis led to flight cancellations and delayed shipments from logistics companies. This caused a backlog in the delivery system and lengthy customer wait times.

In 2021, the extreme cold weather in the U.S., Europe, and some parts of Asia also caused delays due to icy roads and frozen harbors.

Incorrect Labels/Packaging

Incorrect labels or packaging can also cause shipping delays. This is especially true for companies that rely on automated systems to label and package their goods. If the labels are wrong, the company will need extra time to fix them before they can be shipped.

Delayed Handling Processes

The handling process can also be a major cause of shipping delays. This is especially true for companies that outsource their handling processes, such as the warehousing and distribution of goods.

These companies need to ensure that their third-party logistics provider can handle the shipment with efficiency and accuracy. Otherwise, it could result in long wait times for customers.

National and International Holidays

Nobody has control over national and international holidays. These days can cause delays in the shipping process, as companies and warehouses often take a break on these days.

Customers may have to wait longer than usual for their orders to be shipped out during such periods.

If long distances are involved, customers may need to wait even longer due to increased transit times.

Customs Inspections

Customs inspections are especially true for international shipments, which require the goods to be cleared by customs before they can be delivered.

Inspection delays can add several days or weeks to the delivery time, resulting in frustrated customers.

The Impact of Shipping Issues (On Everyone)

Shipping delays can have a major impact on businesses, customers, and logistics companies alike. Recent studies have shown that nearly 55% of online shoppers abandon their orders when faced with a long delivery wait time or shipping fee. This has led to an estimated loss of over $6 billion in potential sales for e-commerce businesses since 2020.

How Do Delays Frustrate Customers?

Shipping delays can significantly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers may become frustrated if they must wait an unusually long time for their orders, and a lack of transparency on the part of the logistics company only adds to this frustration.

Sometimes, customers may cancel their orders if delivery times are too long or updates about their order status are not provided. This can result in significant losses for businesses and logistics companies alike.

How Shipping Issues Damage Retailers?

Shipping issues can be a major problem for retailers, leading to lost sales and customer dissatisfaction.

According to a recent study, 21% of large online purchases arrive damaged, while 15% never arrive. This can lead to costly returns, refunds, and unhappy customers who may not shop with the retailer again.

How To Address The Shipping Delays in 2023?

Shipping delays are an unavoidable reality in the world of ecommerce. However, by being proactive and prepared, merchants can effectively mitigate the impact of shipping delays on their businesses.

Anticipating potential delays, developing a strategy to deal with them, and creating contingency plans for unexpected disruptions are all important steps to take.

Fortunately, there are a variety of effective strategies that merchants can implement to address shipping delays and keep their customers satisfied.

Free Shipping = Happy Customer

One effective strategy is to offer free shipping where possible. A recent survey found that customers overwhelmingly prefer free shipping over faster shipping, with 83% of respondents indicating that they would choose the former. By offering free shipping, merchants can insulate their customers from the impact of shipping delays and maintain their trust.

Communication is The Most Important Thing

Communication is also essential when it comes to addressing shipping delays. Keeping an open line of communication with suppliers and customers can help mitigate the impact of shipping issues and mistakes. By staying in touch with suppliers, merchants can anticipate potential delays and arrange alternative suppliers or backup inventory.

Additionally, regularly communicating with customers and providing attentive customer support can help minimize their disappointment and keep them happy in the face of unexpected challenges.

You Don’t Live in the Middle Ages; Provide Shipment Trackers

Give customers visibility into their shipment status with a tracker. Ecommerce order tracking can even help build trust in your brand by providing estimated ship dates and ETAs if shipments are delayed. It’s an effective way to provide peace of mind and improve the customer experience.

Local Pickup Is the Quickest Solution

Offering local pick-up options is another great way to address shipping delays. By allowing customers to pick up their package in person rather than waiting for it to be delivered, merchants can help ease customer frustrations and maintain their satisfaction.

Check, and Balance is Necessary Everywhere

Finally, regularly monitoring the entire supply chain is essential for avoiding shipping delays. By tracking every phase of the supply chain, merchants can anticipate potential problems and take proactive steps to mitigate them.

This can include identifying potential disruptions ahead of time and seeking out backup suppliers or reordering inventory to prevent backorders.

Facing Fulfillment Issues? Contact ShipBob Today!

Experiencing shipping delays? ShipBob is here to help. With our latest software and dashboard, you can track inventory and orders in real time.

Plus, we offer a 2-Day Express program and discounted rates on multiple carriers for fast and affordable shipping. Contact us today to learn more about their services!

FAQs Related to Shipping Delays

What Shipping Delays Can We Expect In The Coming Year?

Various weather, holidays, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and more can cause shipping delays in the coming year.

Is There Currently A Shipping Crisis, And If So, Why?

The short answer is yes; there is currently a shipping crisis. This crisis has been caused by a combination of factors, including the pandemic-induced disruption to global supply chains, a shortage of crew and containers, and increased demand for goods.

What Are The Busiest Ports In The World?

The busiest ports in the world are Shanghai, Singapore, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, and Hong Kong. These ports account for nearly a third of all global container traffic.

Why Are Shipping Costs So High?

Shipping costs are high due to the increased demand for goods and services, a shortage of containers, and rising fuel prices. Additionally, some carriers have implemented surcharges during peak periods to manage capacity.