If you’ve purchased anything online recently, you might be familiar with the long delay times afflicting most packages. Many people have become accustomed to two-day shipping, overnight package deliveries, and other modern amenities. However, these services are becoming less reliable over time as companies struggle to ship packages with the same quickness they had before 2020.
So, what’s going on with your package? Why are all these delays happening now, and what can you do about it? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Global shipping is a massive, complicated process that involves numerous companies working together in a fragile network of hand-offs and deliveries. Your packages could travel by boat, train, truck, and plane before ever reaching your doorstep. At every logistics center, port, airport, and train station, your package has to be unloaded, re-loaded, scanned, and carefully ferried to its next destination.
This is a convoluted process at best. When shipping companies are operating at maximum capacity, the various hand-offs and transfers are usually seamless from your point of view, but they’re still stressful and busy for the workers. Right now, there are bottlenecks at nearly every step of the process.
Shipping companies are struggling to keep people on staff, which is slowing them down. Fewer people scanning boxes and moving them from boats onto trucks means longer delays at ports. This is also stressful for truck drivers, many of whom don’t get paid during the loading and unloading process. This starts a bottleneck chain reaction, as each lost hour on a single truck loading job compounds into further lost hours on every other truck waiting for its shipments.
To compensate for this, many trucking companies are asking their drivers to drive during bizarre hours to avoid heavy highway traffic. Many truckers have quit over these untenable hours, saying they can’t just start sleeping in the middle of the day and driving all night.
Shoppers haven’t slowed their orders to compensate for the downturn in shipping personnel, either. In fact, the opposite has happened: online shopping demand has skyrocketed since late 2020. There are more orders than ever before and fewer people to help deliver them.
So, the next time you order a package from across the country, remember that it might take a bit longer to arrive at your doorstep. And, when you see truck drivers and delivery personnel, remember that they’ve got a tough job and they’re doing their best to get you your packages!