[Answer] What Are The Main Reasons for Vessel Delays?



Until the recent accident with the Evergreen ship, which closed the Suez Canal, few people outside of the maritime logistics sector thought about how much of the world is transported by ships.

Moreover, not everyone understood how this could affect the cost of transported products or other industries. In this article, we would like to tell you about the main reasons why a ship may arrive at the port later than the appointed time.

Your vessel or cargo is delayed at the transshipment port

Transshipment can happen when cargo is sent to an intermediate terminal before arriving at the final port of destination. Once a vessel arrives at a transshipment port, containers and / or goods are unloaded from the original ship and loaded onto another ship. 

Delays can occur if one of the ships is late for the terminal, or terminal services are ineffective and are engaged in unloading / loading longer than planned

This can be a common occurrence when dealing with carriers and is usually caused by delays at the point of departure, which in turn causes delays at the transshipment hub and ultimately results in shipment not being made to a subsequent vessel. 

Shipment may be delayed at the point of departure for a number of reasons, including weather conditions, lack of proper documentation, or non-compliance with certain requirements, such as the requirement to verify the weight of a SOLAS container.

Your shipment has been rolled

Rolled shipments occur when carriers move or “roll back” shipments to a later date. This can happen when both the carrier’s capacity decreases and consumer demand rises, causing a sharp rise in the spot market, which, in turn, allows carriers to charge higher tariffs. Another reason for this delay is incorrectly prepared documents. Rechecking and / or reissuing documents can take a long time, so your cargo can be rolled.

The vessel with your cargo needs service

Service frequency can also affect your overall delivery time. Lower capacities allow for more frequent service and help meet shippers’ need for faster delivery times. Larger units allow operators to benefit from economies of scale depending on the size of the vessel.

Your vessel is being shared with someone else

Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) occurs when two or more carriers (belonging to the same shipping consortium) jointly offer liner services on a specified route using a specified number of ships. VSA enables stakeholders to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and improve customer service by providing more options and increased throughput.

However, this can sometimes cause delays. Two different carriers may use the same vessel, but they do not always use the same route. Although the ship is the same, carriers may use different routes, which can lead to delays in delivery. If you do not know that the carrier of your choice is a party to the VSA, you can unknowingly postpone the shipment.

Something has happened to your vessel or cargo beyond the control of the shipping company

Some delays are completely beyond your control, your carrier or freight forwarder, and simply cannot be prevented. These can be forces of nature, mechanical problems, human error, or political problems:

  • Weather
  • Collisions
  • Vessel malfunctions
  • Congestion
  • War
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Fire
  • Natural disasters
  • Large scale events (e.g. holidays)

Ports are not properly prepared for the size of your ship

From 1975 to 2015, the size of vessels doubled every decade.

Larger vessels have allowed carriers to increase the number of containers and cargo they can carry, thereby reducing costs. However, some ports are not well equipped to accommodate these larger vessels. 

Due to the increase in the number of containers, larger ships will need more container cranes per ship. These ships will also require more shipyard equipment and a larger stacking area. Not all ports are equipped to receive such large vessels.

There are labour problems in the port where your vessel or cargo is located

Sometimes there are too many containers in the port, causing congestion. This could be due to limited resources or other factors such as strikes or staff problems. For example, negotiations for a 2014-2015 contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Shore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) led to strikes that delayed shipments by several weeks.

These issues are difficult to deal with, but an experienced freight forwarder can help you find solutions. This is where the experience and knowledge of a partner company can significantly add value to your shipping operations and your business.

How can Marine Digital help you?

If in the list above you see one or more reasons due to which your ship or cargo is late, then you need to learn more about our products. Marine Digital has developed hardware and software solutions that allow you to:

  • monitor the ship in real time
  • plot voyage routes taking into account current and future weather conditions, piracy reports and etc
  • predict ship breakdowns, and order the necessary parts in advance at the ports of destination

The vessel performance monitoring system, accurate route planning, floor prediction system and other products of our company will allow you to predict the time of arrival of your vessel at the port as accurately as possible, if necessary, rebuild the route in real time, and thereby minimize possible delays.

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Source: marine digital