20 Questions: Why Do ETA’s Keep Changing?

A lot of people want to know about our ETA’s (estimated times of arrival) and why they change, as it is frustrating to give a customer or client a time line on back ordered product and have that time line change. Trust us, it is the last thing we want to do to you as well.

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As a majority of our product comes from overseas markets, we are at the mercy of our manufacturers when it comes to determining product arrival. Suppliers will first give us an estimate of how long it will take their factory to build the pieces we’ve ordered, generally 30, 45 or 90 days, depending on the size of our order. We will then add on transportation and shipping times (depending on where it is coming from) and establish an initial ETA.

Ships gather off the port at Long Beach, California in this aerial image

Supplier delays, for any number of reasons, including International holidays, lack of materials, lack of available work force, are inevitable. We try our best to build strong, lasting relationships with our overseas suppliers, so that these unavoidable delays are kept to a minimum. Unfortunately we are not the only ones who are trying to get our loaded containers onto cargo ships and this process can also cause delays. Often times, our shipments will be ready to go, but there will not be space on a ship headed to the port of Vancouver. This can delay ETA’s by one or two weeks and is completely out of our hands.

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Even once product arrives at our port there can still be delays. Canada Customs will pull containers for inspection that can take up to 2 weeks. Everything gets unloaded, checked over, and then reloaded without any warning whatsoever adding further delays to shipments we thought were already here.

All of this is to say that determining an accurate ETA is a much bigger task than it appears. We try our best, with all of the information we are given, taking into account that there are going to be unexpected delays, to provide as accurate an ETA as possible. When we are forced to move an ETA, and risk disappointing our customers, and by association yours, it is never something we take lightly.

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