– Why is there so much variability in international shipping times? Some things can arrive in a few days, other can take up to 8 weeks. These are consumer products shipping from a warehouse? Not made to order items.

23 views
0

– Why is there so much variability in international shipping times? Some things can arrive in a few days, other can take up to 8 weeks. These are consumer products shipping from a warehouse? Not made to order items.

In: Other

Items that take weeks to arrive are indeed in a warehouse…in China. Or whatever country they were manufactured in. When you wait weeks for an item, you’re waiting for them to have enough cargo ready to fill a ship and for that ship to cross the ocean, plus a couple days of overland travel in your country.

On the other hand, when Amazon Prime offers you 2 day shipping guaranteed (before covid, that is), it’s because they have warehouses all over the world that are stocked with all the Prime eligible items. Whether you’re in Toronto or Miami, your item is only a few highway hours away when you order it.

That may largely depend on where it’s coming from. We used to get the Tokyo treat box from Japan, and it took about 8 weeks to travel, because it had to travel by boat first.

The major difference is in the mode of shipping between continents. Packages are either shipped on airplanes, trains or cargo ships. And these have very different speeds. The shipper can pay for faster delivery but if not it is random what mode your package will be sent on. Low priority packages are usually just sent on whatever is available at the time. Sometimes there is an airplane with some extra room and sometimes there is a convenient cargo ship to take the package. Bigger retailers do also ship the products to warehouses in each continent before the order is placed so they can get cheaper shipping and offer a faster delivery. But if this is the case you may also find that the warehouse is out and the product is shipped from another continent.

It depends where your package is coming from and the postal company they use as some have a huge backload to clear.

There are a lot less planes flying at the moment so it’s also about getting cargo space and then local government restrictions also come into play.

Air freight prices have also risen so some companies are shipping via boat which adds to the delays.

All those big metal boxes you see on the backs of trucks are shipping containers which can be loaded and unloaded at ports. Now there are millions of these being shipped each day and your goods normally travel in these, but that also means that you have to have a container and a ship going in the right direction and going straight to the destination to get there quickly. Quite often the ships will stop at ports along the way unload half the containers and then load up some more for the final destination, all of this takes time.

Most things come from China.

Now there’s really two ways to get it from China to say California.

1) Put it on a boat

2) Put it in a plane.

Cargo ships also will not bring empty cargo containers. So they will wait to have enough non-essential cargo before leaving. Also, transpacific shipping isn’t as predictable and there can be delays.

Planes are very predictable (you only have so much fuel, you need to land at some point) but there is a premium for each lb of parcel because weight = fuel.