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What are the consequences of container shipping delays?

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why shipping container transportation can be delayed and the impact this has. 

The world relies heavily on the transportation of containers by sea. Maritime vessels carry more than 90% of all the goods transported around the world and about 60% of this is transported in shipping containers 

With international maritime shipping of containers playing such a huge part in trade, it’s vital that container shipping companies do their very best to ensure that every container gets where it needs to be as quickly as possible. And while they do a great job in moving massive quantities of containers all over the globe, sometimes there can be delays, and these delays can happen for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why shipping container transportation can be delayed and the impact this has. 

Adverse weather conditions 

When it comes to mother nature, while we do now have advanced weather forecasting systems, the power of a storm or a strong hurricane can certainly cause delays. Additionally, bad weather can slow down or halt loading and unloading processes if it’s too rough to safely proceed.   

 High traffic at peak times  

An increase in demand will cause congestion in ports, and so cause delays while vessels wait to load and unload. This increase in traffic may relate to a particular event such as Christmas or Spring time, and so these peak times differ from port to port. 

Labour issues  

Of course container shipping needs a large workforce to keep running smoothly, and so when there is a shortage of labour, or unrest with the workers, this can cause delays. Union action such as a strike in a port can cause long delays as a backlog builds up. 

Landside loading and unloading delays 

There are thousands of ports, large and small, all over the world. While many are well staffed, efficient, and well organised, of course there are those that are more unreliable. Some of the smaller ports can take longer to load, unload and process the containers. This can cause a backlog of containers in limited storage facilities, which of course has a knock-on effect for vessels then arriving, waiting to unload.  

Bureaucratic delays  

Hold ups due to customs and governmental processes and paperwork can certainly slow things down. There could be extra checks in place that are particularly time consuming, or lengthier processes and further checks and paperwork due to the nature of the contents of a container. While a particular vessel may not be directly affected by these additional checks, a hold up in port can delay many other vessels.  

Slow steaming from rising bunker costs 

 We’ve all noticed the rise in fuel costs lately, and that applies to ships on a massive scale. Bunker costs for shipping are one of the largest operating costs of any container carrier business. With profit margins being narrow, and competition being high, making savings wherever possible is vital. Bunker consumption decreases when the vessel is sailing more slowly, so if you compromise on speed on travel, you’ll save money on fuel. This process is known as slow steaming. It’s a common practice, but it does make the journey take longer.

Columbia Worldwide Movers – aware and prepared  

While we can’t calm a storm, there are many measures we take to ensure containers are collected, handled and delivered in the most expedient and efficient way possible. We believe that knowledge is key, so by keeping a close eye on any potential delays, we can anticipate them and prepare for them. If extra paperwork is needed, you can rest assured that Columbia Worldwide Movers will have it prepared and ready. If there are problems at a particular port, there’ll be a thorough contingency plan at the ready.  

Whenever. wherever and whatever you need to move, Columbia Worldwide Movers are here for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more about the services we offer.  

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