The 7 Possible Explanations for a Late Parcel

Late arrivals can be inconveniencing, annoying and most of all, worrying, especially if you can’t figure out why, or don’t know whether your package will arrive or not.

For a recipient, a late parcel can send chills down your spine especially if you’re expecting a parcel from overseas. And while carrier companies work to deal with the millions of parcels—and achieve timely deliver all the time—some obstacles in the shipping process can lead to delays.

For carrier services, achieving timely delivery is a priority just as it is for the customer. Regrettably, these unforeseen issues can arise and lead to late arrivals. But first, here are some of the important things to learn about parcel delays.

How to Confirm a Late Parcel?

Each carrier service offers package tracking capabilities. The tracking solution allows a sender and a recipient to follow-up the location of their shipment and detect unusual circumstances.

On spotting any unusual circumstances, a shipper should report the problem to the carrier service.

Carrier companies have back-end services that work to fix errors encountered in the shipping process.

But if you’re expecting ecommerce shipments or goods bought from an online company, you can also inquire if they offer real-time tracking of shipped items and always work with them to confirm late parcels.

The Critical Role of Tracking Numbers

These tracking systems identify and locate each parcel using a unique digit-code. For carrier companies, these tracking numbers simplify the process of identifying parcels.

After scheduling a shipment, the carrier company gives you (the sender) a tracking number to use in monitoring the status of their delivery.

Parcels can be difficult to locate without a special tracking number identifying each package.

How frequent do Carriers Update their Tracking Systems?

So how often should you expect an update on the status of your delivery? Status updates for domestic shipments can vary depending on the destination and the distance between the depots it passes through before it reaches its delivery point.

In essence, the status changes every time a carrier scans parcels and makes an update. This could last from hours to a day or days depending on the factors listed above.

When carriers give updates they include info such as anticipated delays, reasons for delays etc. that matter in monitoring deliveries.

Common Causes of Delayed Deliveries

 Late parcels are the result of one or many unforeseen problems in the shipping process. They range from human mistakes to inescapable situations like bad weather conditions.

So what are some common causes of late deliveries?                                

1. Misplaced Parcels.

Lost or misplaced packages are a common cause of delayed deliveries.

A package may arrive later than anticipated if it got lost at some point in the transport process. A parcel may get lost if loses its shipment tag or label at some point in the transit.

To ensure all parcels arrive safely, carrier companies add an identifying tracking number and offer a receipt for all deliveries are successful.

2. Wrongly filled Order Forms.

Filling an ecommerce order form wrongly can lead to a late parcel.

Ensure you complete all sections in your order form. Courier companies usually use the info in these forms to deliver parcels to their rightful owners.

3. Miswritten, Incomplete or Obsolete Addresses.

Wrong, out-of-date or incomplete ship-to addressees are also a common cause of late deliveries. A carrier worker or track driver will not deliver any item they find problems deciphering its address until the sender corrects the error and includes an accurate address.

Many carrier firms will send you a notification text as soon as you’ve made an order. The notification email should contain the details of the order including important shipping info like addresses.

This is the time to double-check your email address. Ensure your address is well spelt, complete and active. Don’t let you items be shipped to an outdated addresses.

4.Readdressing a parcel.

Changing the ship-to address of a parcel can also lead to a late parcel.  Readdressed parcels are prone to delays because the courier company has to make the requested changes and schedule the delivery to a different route.

Even slight changes can lead to significant delays because the post office must reprocess the order once more.

5. Customs delays (for cross-border shipments).

If the foreign sender failed to abide by shipping regulations for your country then goods may delay at customs.

Inaccurate or incomplete forms and documents can cause trouble at customs and lead to holdups until the right documentation is provided.

Always remind your sender to double-check all credentials that accompany an international parcel to avoid such issues.

6. Unavoidable holdups.

Here are some of the unavoidable holdups that can lead to a late parcel;

  • Poor weather conditions can lead to transportation problems and delay shipments by hours or days. Unforeseen bad weather conditions can make roads unnavigable or affect cruise schedules leading to parcel delays.
  • An increase in the number of parcels, for instance, during holiday seasons when carrier companies have to deal with overwhelming volumes per day. Delays are common when carriers have too many parcels to handle.
  • Breakdown of trucks. Parcels are transported using trucks, ships and airplanes which can all experience technical hitches. When a vehicle breaks down a replacement must be done. All that may add up to significant time and delay parcels by hours or days.  

7. Hard to decipher Handwriting or Poor Printing.

Everything from parcel tags or labels to important shipping info should be easy to decode.

Anything that is difficult to decipher because of illegible handwriting or poor printing is left aside until clear information is provided.

Hard to read info can confusion among carrier service staffs or cause problems at customs. Use large visible fonts and complete all hand-filled forms in CAPS.

Final Words

One lesson that comes from this discussion is that businesses and customers sending parcels should keep communicating with their carrier companies to see the location of packages and predict delays.

Luckily we have high-end tech like real-time package tracking which allows a sender or receiver to track their parcel while in transit.

Lastly, senders should master all the dos and don’ts of sending parcels to avoid delays due to mistakes in preparing a package and registering it into the mailstream.