People hoping to purchase Christmas gifts online are being advised to have a second plan, as the global shock waves of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple through the shipping industry.
Customers continue to report delays in their deliveries and courier companies are warning of longer waits due to setbacks.
Customers say courier companies have been telling them they should have been ordering their gifts online weeks ago to escape the anticipated Christmas backlog.
Guardian Media reached out to Shipping Association of Trinidad and Tobago head Hayden Alleyne, who urged people to place their orders “immediately.”
According to Alleyne, although the holiday season is months away, there’s already a lot of nervousness about getting gifts to their destinations on time.
“This year, with the damage the pandemic has done to the supply chain, the number of delays that have been caused by COVID-19, I think it is with an abundance of caution some of these courier companies will be telling their customers you may not get your cargo in time for Christmas if you order now,” he said.
Head of Ezone Couriers, Paul Pantin, said the shipping system is expected to be overwhelmed. He too warned shoppers to brace for delays unlike any experienced before.
“It is a good idea to try and order a little earlier for Christmas from two perspectives - one, the supply chain may not be able to get it to us or you (customers) as quickly as it has been in the past and secondly, there probably will be continued delays locally with the clearance of items, whether you clear it from ocean or air express.”
Pantin believes swift Government intervention could be a timely gift for many.
“If we can come to an agreement soon and we have been talking to Customs and we have been giving our ideas and consultation, if they can have an agreement soon there should not be this continued delay.”
He said the courier and delivery services industry has been grappling to operate with limited resources. In January, stakeholders complained about the backlogs caused by the implementation of the Asycuda system. The automated data entry programme was blamed for the bottlenecking of goods which subsequently impacted trade and the economy.