Why is coronavirus causing shipping delays?

Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from one of the fans who entered our giveaway contest for a Roku. Today we will answer the following question: “why is coronavirus causing shipping delays?”

 

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Why Coronavirus Shipping Delays Exist

From Amazon to FedEx to UPS, a lot of the major players in shipping and eCommerce have had the unenviable task of telling customers that “shipping will be slower than usual.” We’ve even had to say that to our own customers. Customers, unfortunately, have come to accept that delayed shipments are part of the new normal, at least for a little while.

It’s no secret that coronavirus disrupted supply chains everywhere in profound ways. Yet three problems stand above all others for explaining why your Amazon package is taking a week or more to ship:

First, the demand for items has surged unpredictably. Have you tried getting your hands on toilet paper, dried beans, canned meat, or hair trimmers lately? It’s not as easy as it used to be. The economy dramatically changed in mere weeks. Nobody could have predicted at the beginning of 2020 that we would all have to live like shut-ins, and the shortage of certain items proves this.

On top of that, there have been lots of country-wide lockdowns and travel restrictions. Even when no formal restrictions exist, the cancellation of air and sea travel has made it impossible for the USPS and other carriers to deliver to some countries. At the time that I’m writing this post, there are 49 countries to which the USPS cannot deliver. By the time you read this, it’s very likely to be more.

Finally, shipping is powered by people. That means warehouses – at least the good ones – take safety measures to ensure the well-being of their staff. Shipping is an essential service and stopping it would be devastatingly bad for public health and the economy. Even still, it’s not always easy to stand six feet apart from your coworkers, and that along with other safety measures such as hand-washing, slow down the overall speed of shipping.

 

Extra Safety Tips

At this point, we would like to reiterate the very same safety tips we mentioned in our last Quick Questions post:

It is incredibly improbable that you will contract COVID-19 by checking your mail. However, it is not impossible. Considering the novelty of the virus and the importance of your health, we recommend that you take steps above and beyond what is typically recommended. That way, you can keep yourself and your family safe.

  1. Wash your hands after handling external packaging. Wash them often and wash them thoroughly. That means you need to use soap and water and take at least 20 seconds. (Washing breaks the coronavirus down on a molecular level.)
  2. Don’t touch your face after checking the mail.
  3. Sanitize high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and your cell phone.
  4. If you really want to go the extra mile, leave packages outside for a day before bringing them in. If you must bring them in before them, put them on a towel and wash your hands after handling them.

By taking a few extra steps, you can safely check your mail without worry. That way, you can continue to receive packages you ordered online and avoid making much more risky in-person purchases.

Stay safe out there!

 

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