Ship unloading

Why is the ship unloading your cargo late?

One of the questions often asked by business owners is why is the ship unloading their cargo so late? While everyone does their best to ensure that ships arrive on time and cargoes unload as scheduled, these events don’t always go as planned. It’s fair to say that when you are dealing with ships and oceans, there are many factors that must come together to achieve a specific arrival and unloading time, most of which are out of our hands. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your cargo may be late unloading at port.

Poor weather impacts ship unloading procedures

At both ends of the journey, bad weather can heavily impact loading and unloading procedures. Any delays at the port of origin will have a knock-on effect at the destination port, so if your cargo is loaded late due to storms or poor visibility, it will arrive later than anticipated at its destination port. Poor weather at the destination port can also result in the ship unloading your cargo late, even if it arrived on time, and no-one can command the weather!

Breakdowns & navigation hazards in transit

It’s not unknown for ships to experience engine problems when in transit from one port to another, often resulting in delays that can’t be avoided. Usually, these types of problems can be rectified at sea, but running with one engine off-line for any period of time can cause delays in both arrival and ship unloading times. Navigation hazards can also result in longer times to port, if ships have to alter their course significantly to avoid a collision.

Problems with customs & biosecurity at port

Whether it’s at the origin or destination port, problems with customs can lead to long delays in both loading and unloading. All paperwork for imports and exports must be completed correctly and any missing or incomplete paperwork can cause lengthy delays. Problems can also arise with biosecurity and quarantine inspections, further delaying clearance at ports.

Feeder or port congestion & faulty equipment

Too many ships arriving and departing at either the port of origin or the destination port can cause severe shipping congestion, resulting in delayed ship unloading times. Congested feeder lines can also lead to delays, simply because the feeders can’t work fast enough to keep the ships on schedule. The situation can be made even more complicated when shuttle carriers go off-line due to breakdowns, leading to further delays loading and unloading containers.

Public holidays and weekends

Whilst many ports work around the clock loading and unloading cargo from ships, some still stop work or reduce their employee numbers on weekends and public holidays. Customs and biosecurity staff may also work more restricted hours during weekends and holidays, resulting in extended delays in unloading. Whilst this may be true of smaller ports, rather than larger ports, it can still have a knock-on effect at the terminal port.

If you need an expert in ship unloading and loading procedures in Queensland, Victoria or NSW, contact the BCS head office via email or call us on 07 3621 1777 for more information.