Why is your bone porcelain Shipment delayed and how to avoid it? (1)

containers sending by sea

Table of Contents

How does a delay in supply affect your bone porcelain tableware business?

Why does the delay happen?

How to solve the problem of delaying vessels?

The factors that cause the delay of vessels?

The suggestions from experienced couriers.

How does a delay in supply affect your bone porcelain tableware business?

Any delay is bad for business. A shipment delay tends to affect all aspects of your bone china tableware business.

Unhappy customers

Customers are less likely to buy from a supplier who cannot keep to the promised delivery time when they have multiple choices.

Cash flow trouble

If you don’t deliver your goods on time, and you signed a contract with your end customer, you might face a penalty. This creates not only cash flow problems that affect your day-to-day operations, but also the overall revenue of your business.

Events hold-up

If the delayed bone porcelain is for a big anniversary or a huge event, the delay in supply could mean it would ruin the whole event. By the time the shipment reaches, the bone porcelain tableware might be worth nothing. This is a terrible accident we need to avoid.

Additional expense

Having your shipment stuck in a port for an extended period of time (no matter what’s the cause), will have demurrage, detention, and port storage charges, which can prove costly.

containers sending by sea
containers sending by sea

Why does the delay happen?

The delay of the supply could be of many reasons—most from 2 main parts. The bone china tableware manufacturer part and the shipment delay, and there are many reasons that account for both. In this article, we are going to focus on the delay of the shipments. We will discuss the delay caused by the manufacturer in another article.

Factors that cause the delay shipments

Some of the most common reasons for shipment delays are

  1. Vessel delays.

Bad weather, port congestion, strikes, container shortages, and changes in service schedule can delay shipments’ departure, arrival, loading, and unloading. Additionally, ships can get held up at sea due to navigational hazards (floating ice) and technical malfunctions. Delays also occur when the ship takes a detour, makes additional stops, or skips a port. According to a Schedule Reliability report covering the east-west trade lanes, less than 50% of ships were on time while 10% were late by three days in 2019.

2. Overbooking and rollovers

Shipping lines are known to overbook carriers in anticipation of last-minute cancellations and no-shows. When a ship is overbooked, it might stop your cargo from being loaded and roll it over to another vessel that sails at a later date.          

3. Carrier space shortage

The carrier space shortage can be attributed to an overall shipping slowdown brought about by Covid-19. In the first half of 2020, carriers announced record blanked sailings in response to unprecedented booking cancellations and no-shows and plunging container volumes. With fewer ships sailing, shippers struggled with reduced carrier space.

At the same time, thousands of full containers were stranded at ports for months as a result of government-imposed lockdowns. This created a container shortage. With the outlook for global trade still risky, analysts say tactical sailing cancellations by carriers will continue for some time. General rate increase.

container ready for shipment
containers ready at the port

Another price deterrent that could push back your shipment is a general rate request (GRI) – a base price hike implemented by carriers in response to high demand. 

4. Peak season.

Carrier space is tight and prices are high during the August-November peak season when traders ship at higher volumes to catch the Christmas and New Year holiday shopping season. (In India, the peak season falls in February-March, coinciding with the harvest season.)

Busy season shipments cause traffic blocks in the sea

5. Holidays.

Major holidays such as Chinese New Year, Golden Week, and Eid also see demand and prices go up, and crowded ports cause shipment delays.

6. Falling imports and exports

The drop in shipments, on the other hand, is a direct result of falling global imports and exports, again due to Covid-19. Exports fell 15% while imports contracted by 13.6% in the April-June quarter, according to this World Trade Organisation report.

North America recorded the steepest fall in exports (24.5%) while imports declined the most in Europe (19.3%). The report, however, showed a declining trend in exports and imports since the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2019, before the pandemic hit the global economy with full force.

Contains stuck at US port because of the COVID-19

With trading down, shipment volume has also dropped sharply this year. The good news, though, is that China – the world’s largest exporting nation by value and a manufacturing powerhouse – is showing signs of recovery with exports and imports picking up strongly.    

7. Customs hold-ups.

Violations such as incorrect cargo declaration and incomplete documentation can lead to your containers being held up for customs inspection and examination.     

8. Transshipments and vessel sharing.

A transshipment is when a shipment is moved from one carrier to another when in transit. Your cargo might have to be transshipped if there is no direct route between your ports of origin and destination. A missed transshipment can cause a delay of days, even weeks.      

There are instances where two or more shipping lines share vessels on a specific route to expand their service network. When you make a booking with one such company, your cargo is transported part of the way by another company. The two might not use the same routes and your shipment might end up on a ship with a longer route, thus shipment delay happens.          

9. External factors

Then there are conditions you have no control over, such as wars, terrorist attacks, piracy, natural disasters, vessel collisions, and lost or stolen cargo.

What we can do to avoid the shipment delay?                

A few tips that can help secure the on-time delivery of our goods.

  1. Deal with a trustworthy supplier.

Emphasis the importance of on-time delivery of your bone china tableware with your supplier, especially if it’s for an event or some important occasion, work out the production arrangement, and the time-table for production together and check frequently according to that.

Sea shipments

2. Work with experienced and professional couriers.

A professional courier is of the same importance as a great bone china tableware manufacturer. It plays a vital role in the successful and timely delivery of your bone china tableware. While many importers focus on selecting the manufacturer and neglected the importance of finding a good courier. Below is the advice from the courier we’ve been working with for the past 10 years.

3. Price is not the No.1 priority.

There are plenty of couriers who offer cheaper prices for the same route, however, in a mature business world. There is a balance between price and cost. Super low prices could result in a few problems mentioned above.

4. Book in advance: But how early is early enough?

It depends. Stay in touch with the courier, check in advance to see if the space is tight. They will advise you when you should book for a particular line.

Before booking, find out the transit time and then add a few extra days as a buffer. This is critical when shipping during peak seasons and holidays when ports are more likely to be congested.  

5. Plan your shipment well  

Booking early isn’t enough. Proper planning is just as important if you want your deliveries to be on time and your customers happy.

While booking, mention the correct number of packages and double-check your cargo details

Make sure the packaging, labeling, and dimensions are appropriately noted.

Ensure your shipment is picked up and gated in on time. connect with reliable transport providers who will guarantee your cargo is on time  

Share the shipping schedule with your freight forwarder, customs agent, or customer.

Prepare and submit documents on time. Make sure they are accurate and complete to avoid delays and extra costs.

6. Buy insurance

Insurance is a service that protects shippers against lost, stolen, or damaged packages. If an insured package does not reach its destination, or if it is damaged when it’s delivered, then the shipper is reimbursed the declared value of the items in the package. Different companies have different rates for the packages, you need to check with them if you want to do it.

Containers dropping in the sea

7. Set a mechanism to deal with the delay of goods.

If a shipment delay happens, to minimize its bad influence on the selling, we need to have a set of coping methods, like informal the buyers in advance, making a backup plan, etc. Customers are more forgiving when you’re transparent about the reasons for the shipment delay and the adjusted shipping dates.  

Communication Can Help retain Customers who experience late deliveries, while nobody is happy about receiving a late delivery, consumers do understand that weather emergencies and product shortages can cause delays.

Offering a credit, shipping refund, or free gift to customers whose deliveries are late shows that you value their business. These types of small gestures can help you retain customers who otherwise may not return.

By communicating in a way that’s honest, transparent, and generous, you can significantly increase the chances of keeping your customers despite a poor delivery experience.

shipment delay


No matter the quality of your company’s product, your customers will not buy it if you can’t deliver it on time. Very few— if any — companies have the luxury of being late on final product deliveries while simultaneously being able to keep their customers satisfied and coming back for more over the long term.

It’s essential for your to keep your bone china tableware products arrive on time, which means you have to supervise the performance of the supplier and well as the courier, the shipment, to ensure everything is on track.

Above are a few measurements we can take to help to avoid the shipment delay of our bone china tableware. In some cases, delay still happens. However, such actions can help us avoid the situation caused by people, while the unpredictable situation, like hurricanes, or COVID, we just leave it to luck.