Utilizing an international ocean freight shipping service is a relatively easy process, whether you’re sending or receiving a package. The anticipation for an arriving shipment can be quite exciting, but the experience can be soiled by prolonged waiting times due to issues with customs. 

A delay in receiving a package is actually a common and incredibly bothersome happenstance. Various factors can contribute to it, either due to logistical errors, shipping errors, or simply local factors. Identifying some of these can help in rectifying some of the possible issues while also setting the proper expectations when expecting a shipment.

To help you in this regard, here are four common reasons for cargo shipment delays with your overseas shipment.

Customs Inspections

One of the most basic reasons for delay would be the local procedures regarding customs inspections. Some countries may have stricter guidelines for inspection, especially when it comes to ocean freights coming in from certain countries.

The specifics of inspections also relies heavily on the size of the shipping container, as well as the declared contents. Heavier containers are more likely to be inspected, especially if the weight doesn’t connect properly with the supposed products inside of it.

Port congestion

Congestion is also an incredibly common reason for shipment delays and is, unfortunately, one factor that can’t be controlled. This is heavily dependent on the time of year—certain holidays, such as New Year or Christmas, are expected to receive more shipment traffic than usual.

Local laws and shipping processes can alleviate this, with some countries offloading cargo to certain services that hold the containers for a certain period—allowing to ease the traffic of shipping vessels on the port. By smoothening out on-port processes for receiving shipping containers, the entire process can move along at a swifter pace.

Improper or Lost Documents

One of the biggest delays to cargo freight shipments would be incomplete or improper documentation. Invoices, product codes, content description, and shipment documentation are all important to the receiving shipyard—so make sure these are provided without delay.

Improper or incomplete descriptions can make local customs doubtful of the contents—thus pushing for even further inspections. Such factors can heavily delay the processing of your shipments and can become much more troublesome to have it cleared in the long run.

Incorrect tariff classification codes

Tariff classification codes are a common agreement across numerous countries that have dictated particular classifications for more than 200,000 commodities. By establishing shipping uniformity among nations, the commerce market should be more organized and faster in dealing with incoming shipments.

Incorrect tariff codes, however, end up with prolonged holds in customs, as well as mismanaged shipments at ports. These also negatively impact the local governments, as the appropriate tariff revenues can’t be collected—leading to losses amounting in millions of dollars each year.


Overseas freight shipping requires a lot of preparations and planning in order not to be held at port. Delays, while seemingly inevitable, are quite avoidable if the proper procedures are duly followed. By securing documentation, timing your shipment properly, and following the appropriate customs procedures, you can assure that your shipment will get to the proper destination in no time.

If you are looking for international movers in NYC, come to Shipping Solutions Worldwide. Let us safely move your items today!

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