Why is my order delayed?
The United Kingdom is facing unprecedented times, we have now left the European Union and we are fighting a pandemic, lockdowns, facemasks, and copious amounts of hand sanitiser. Distilleries have stopped making alcohol for drinking and instead are now making disinfectant and bottled hand gels! Remember last year? Some of us could not get hold of toilet rolls and pasta, and others had way too much of the stuff. It was chaos, and in some respects it still is. Unfortunately, there will be ongoing issues for quite some time to come across all sectors.
So what is going on Worldwide that is affecting my order?
Well, it’s 3 main things;
- It’s winter, the seas a rough and ships have to travel slower.
- Governments are buying up and storing vast quantities of PPE (remember that issue) in containers for use in their hospitals and care homes.
- China is celebrating their New Year. To help prevent the spread of Covid China has decided to run its holiday season differently. This now means a normal 2-week affair is going on for a much longer period, China’s strategy is to stagger factory closures.
These are the three main factors as to why the UK shipping industry is facing the perfect storm. Other contributing factors are: Not enough empty containers are getting to where they are needed, especially in China. Bottlenecks in the processing of the containers here in the UK due to covid and finally just to exacerbate the situation, shipping companies are now electing to ship to EU ports instead of UK ports, in the belief that they can negotiate the customs laws and then truck containers to the UK instead.
All this has equated to some seriously expensive containers and some huge delays in stock coming into the country. And we are not the only ones, there are some big companies with names such as Peloton and Honda that are struggling with the implications. Thankfully we are not as affected as they are. Honda even had to shut their production line down due to the difficulties getting parts into the country.
How does this affect Only Oak Furniture I hear you ask?
Well, furniture is affected because, by its very nature, it’s big and heavy, and its volume to value ratio is relatively low. Consider a wardrobe or garden furniture in comparison to a Smartphone, laptop, or any small high-value item. Now look at the shipping cost in the limited space of a container, divide that cost by many small items, the cost is not as detrimental as it is when you divide that same cost by a wardrobe! For us and our suppliers that means crazy high shipping costs. Hence furniture importers especially are suffering in terms of increased costs of container shipments compared to other industries. Maybe we should be selling Apple I phones?
How are we dealing with this? We have three ways. The first is a cost in time the second a cost in money and thirdly is communication with you our customers.
What are the implications?
If our suppliers decide to pay the new inflated price for the containers, that makes the furniture more expensive to ship, that inflated price then gets passed on to us and to you as customers. The other option is to wait. Bottlenecks will clear, and processes will be put in place to ensure containers can start moving again. That is what the furniture industry as a whole from DFS to the small local retailer is waiting for. The industry thinks customers would rather wait a few extra months to get a new bookcase, rather than pay double the amount to have it now. It’s up to us as retailers to communicate that to you our customer.
If you have read this, it was probably prompted by an order delay notification. If you are just doing research them please remember we have mitigated most of the delays by purchasing extra stock, and, we are shipping as much as we can, where and when we can. Rest assured our factories in Asia are full of supplies that just waiting for containers. We will get your order to you soon; it’s just taking a little extra time! Your frustration is ours.
Please keep in mind if you contact us, we are working extremely hard to get your furniture to you as quickly as we can whilst maintaining a fair price. All we ask for is patience and a bit of understanding with these issues that are outside of all our control.
Thank you, stay safe and we hope you enjoy using your new furniture.
Finally, we have attached a few links that back up our blog. Thank you.
‘Our shipping container’s stuck in Dunkirk in France'
Business owner Daisy Fuge on how she's been affected by UK shipping delays
Maersk, the world's biggest shipping company, says holdups at some UK ports could go on for months
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) December 10, 2020