My order is late. Who is to blame?

Normally, we allow 6 weeks to deliver to Sydney on Sea Freight from the date of “Shipped on Board” in the B/L. If it takes some times more than 2 months, who is responsible for this delay ? Can we question the manufacturer who is also the shipper using their Freight forwarder, can we ask them to compensate for this delay.

A well written PO keeps the supplier honest

If you are shipping out of China and the B/L is being provided as the goods are about to ship out, then 6 weeks does sound like a very long time to wait, even if the 6 weeks includes clearing inbound customs in Australia.

In the effort to fight corruption and enforce safety/quality standards, in 2013/2014 I have noticed that shipments with values over 100K USD are being inspected by the port authority in much more detail in the past. This inspection can hold up the shipment for weeks. While the inspections are random, if you are on a blacklist or if you have a value of over 100K USD, you may find “random” inspections are the norm, not the exception.

ship it, ship it real good.

how many of these containers are late?

You ask who is responsible for that delay. The answer depends on the terms of your contract. For example, once I started putting in penalty terms for late delivery, my suppliers “magically” starting hitting the delivery dates.  (read more here: 7 items you probably forgot to put in your contract with the factory.).  Unless you have clear terms in your contract the freight forwarder will blame the supplier and the supplier will blame the freight forwarder, when shipments are late.

Related content: if you wish to engage 3rd party support to help find and manage vendors (including logistics).

Sourcing freight forwarders from China to Australia


Let me know how things work out for you.

Glad to help.


Question answered by Mike Bellamy.

Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( Author of “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions.

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