Shipping Delays Explained

Shipping Delays Explained

We know a lot of customers are questioning why their bikes are taking so long to arrive, and we want to let you know we are listening and help you to understand why this problem is happening.

Retailers across the country are suffering from a lack of merchandise, and the explanation is simple: shipments aren't moving. Ports across the country are suffering massive delays in both getting items shipped as well as unloading them.

You might wonder: How long could these delays really be? How slow are ships moving? Well here’s one real-life example: one vessel arriving in Long Beach from Yantian spent approximately twelve days anchored waiting to dock. Then, the vessel spent seven days docked before getting to leave the port. Overall, the ship spent almost three weeks in Long Beach, unmoving. After this, the voyage to Oakland, which would normally take a day, took over a week. You can imagine the difference a delay of nearly four weeks or a month makes to shipping times. 

Like with many other recent problems, COVID 19 is a big part of the problem. Many longshoremen are not at work due to COVID 19 concerns which is slowing down ship unloading as there are not enough workers to load and unload ships. 

Increased demand for retail goods also contributes to the congestion. Normally there is a bit of a lull in demand after the holiday season, but not this year. The economy is improving, and retailers are importing more goods in anticipation of sales growth. Shipping container volume actually doubled in the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Ports are having trouble keeping up with the increased traffic, and with record growth in retail sales expected for 2021, the problem isn't likely to get any easier.

The large increase in imports is also contributing to a shortage of chassis, the containers used by trucks to transport goods. The chassis are sitting in the ports longer and then staying out longer once they leave the ports, making them more difficult to obtain. Also, to make matters worse, some major ocean carriers have mainly left the chassis business, and some other carriers are temporarily out of business for maintenance purposes.

If a trucker manages to pick up a chassis and deliver the goods, that may not be the end of the shipping problems. A trucker needs an appointment to return the chassis, and if there are no available appointments (which is often the case), the trucker is left waiting for weeks till an opening develops. If there is an available appointment, the trucker still must wait the days to weeks for the appointment to happen so the container can be returned. 

Another cause of the chassis shortage is a lack of warehouse space on both coasts, particularly near ports. Warehouses in Southern California are operating at capacity. 

Labor shortages are also contributing to port congestion. Truck drivers are necessary to pick up and deliver the shipping containers from the port and then return the containers. But the increasing shortage of truck drivers is making this difficult. 

Lastly, once items are in the warehouse and ready to ship to consumers, we again face delays due to the issues major shipping companies like USPS, UPS, and Fedex are experiencing such as record-breaking e-commerce orders, COVID-19 closures, weather events, and a shortage in trucks + drivers who can only pick up and drop off a certain volume of packages each day. When trucks come to the warehouse to pick up large items, like electric bikes, they can often only pick up so many and leave the rest for the next day.

We know that the long wait for your new e-bike is difficult, but these shipping delays are not only affecting us, they’re affecting everyone. The problem is complex and will take time to sort out. Though you may have to wait a little longer for your e-bike, rest assured, it will reach you and be worth the wait.

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