Five Factors That Can Influence Freight Delivery Times – And What You Can Do to Mitigate Them

Sending freight to Europe – or beyond – has the potential to be a fraught experience. You’ve got deadlines to meet. And if your goods don’t get from A to B on time, it can seriously impact your bottom line. Understanding the factors that carry the potential to cause delay is the best way to protect your business from disruption and customer dissatisfaction.

The Five Main Factors That Can Delay Your Freight – And How You can Protect Yourself Against Them

Poor communication

Poor communication is behind a surprising number of freight delays. Whether it’s a lack of information being passed between inhouse departments, between your business and your freight forwarder, or between your sales/purchasing team and your customers and partners. If information isn’t reaching the right people, your freighting procedures simply won’t be as smooth as they could be. By implementing a clear, auditable information sharing process, you can help to streamline and secure your logistics.

Overweight pallets or containers

In the UK, there are clearly defined weight limits for HGV loads. If you pack your containers or pallets with too much weight, your freight forwarder will not be able to accept them, for various reasons. This means that your shipment will be delayed while goods are removed. If this involves a serious adjustment, then you may have to rebook your collection for another time. And if your freight is relying on other forms of transport – air or sea – you may well miss your connection.


Customs procedures have always been the bane of the import-export industry. The red tape can be tedious, especially since Brexit. And the temptation to cut corners can be great. But get your paperwork wrong, select the incorrect HS code, or fail to fill in all of your documentation, and your goods will be delayed. Sometimes for a significant period. So, make sure that whoever is responsible for your admin is getting things right.

National holidays

We are all very much aware of the impact Christmas has upon our UK businesses. And how everything slows down during bank holidays. Every other country is the same. So, check online calendars. Is there going to be a public holiday here, in the country of origin of your goods, or their ultimate destination? If so, it makes good sense to factor in additional freighting time to accommodate any potential disruption to service.

Weather and other natural factors

Sometimes, the weather is simply against you. Storms can close ports, block roads, or simply make travel unsafe. And if you send freight on a regular basis, it’s almost inevitable that you should experience some form of weather-related mishap at some point. And this is really the one area that you will struggle to protect yourself against. The only things you can do to protect yourself from weather-related delays is send your freight to Europe with plenty of time. And take out cargo insurance with built-in delay protection.

If you work with the right freight forwarder, they will have their own strategies in place to help to prevent delays. And find ways to rectify them on the occasions that they do happen. But by taking steps to improve your inhouse communication, keeping an eye on what’s happening in the wider world, and politely demanding accuracy from your team, you have the power to take at least some freight delivery delays into your own hands.

If you are looking for a reliable freight forwarder to move your goods between the UK and Europe, get in touch with Plexus Freight.

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