Sometimes when you are importing you get hit delays. Late vessel, Customs exam, or even a flat tire on the truck delivering your goods. Recently, a customer had his worse case happen. Wine in a temperature controlled container from Europe to the Port of New York with a final destination of Columbus was delayed two weeks.
First was a weather delay. The ship arrived on time but could not be unloaded for three days because of port congestion. The bad weather backed up the unloading of the vessels and the MSC Ela had a three day wait at anchor.
Weather and bad management was the next factor. The chassis that the ocean containers ride on while being moved by truck have changed hands. Before the steamship lines owned the chassis, just like they own most of the containers. But the chassis have been sold to a third party. This is a nationwide sale and in most ports the change over has been handled well. But not so much in NYC. The lack of chassis and the weather delays caused another five days of delay.
The pain was not quite over for this poor importer because his container was placed on a manifest hold by US Customs. Manifest hold generally require a VACIS exam, running the entire container through a giant X Ray machine at a Customs approved exam site.
VACIS exams are plentiful, but it does take some time to move the container from the port to the exam station. Also the container will wait in line for the X Ray machine, usually a week or so. The importer is responsible for all charges associated with the exam. For a full container this could be $700 or so. Since this was a temperature controlled container the exam station also charged for monitoring.
This importers worse case has been a little better than a two week delay and over $1000 in additional charges
The chassis problems at the Port of New York/New Jersey will cause delays for everyone, until they have a solution. And a VACIS Exam is something every importer should be aware of. This is an instant week delay of your goods.
If you expect your goods to have a just in time delivery, BE CAREFUL. Delays happen. If you don't have a plan to weather these delays it will cost your company more than just money. You could lose clients too.