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Merchants Face Delivery Delays from China Suppliers

Merchants are facing delays in shipments from China that are going through Hong Kong. The issue is impacting some sellers as they source inventory for the holiday shopping season, though EcommerceBytes has yet to determine the scale of the problem.

Suppliers in China are telling merchants there was a corruption scandal involving jewelry-smuggling in Shenzhen Huanggang recently, followed by customs officers in Man Kam seizing 2 tons of counterfeit currency last week.

As a result, suppliers are reporting, Hong Kong customs is checking a greater percentage of shipments before allowing them to leave the country.

One small business that imports items from China on a bi-weekly basis using DHL said he’s getting reports of “Customs Clearance Delays” on the latest shipment. He received the following email from his supplier:

There’s a very serious jewelry smuggling case found in Shenzhen port recently, 300 people involved in corruption, and almost at the same time in another customs, 2 tons of counterfeit money were found.

As result of these 2 serious cases, all the customs are very strictly, they inspect the goods extremely carefully, so the recent express declaration of export goods has been seriously delayed, especially for the goods that shipped from Hong Kong via DHL, FEDEX, UPS, TNT.

This problem happens on every package, we are also very worried about it, we have many packages that are held on customs. We can only wait.

For the future shipment, we will have to use other local express company (like Hangzhou FedEx, Guangzhou UPS), they have directly flight to US, no need to go through Hong Kong port, and these customs will be not so strictly.

It’s a very bad news for us. We will keep checking on this shipment.

Another reader who reported the problem to us wrote, “Customs is checking 90%+ of vehicles….entering the DHL facility. Affected buyers will see only the tracking event Shipment Information Received and may think they are being scammed by their suppliers. They are not. It’s a legit issue for suppliers and there isn’t anything they can do.”

The seller said he expects the problem will be further exacerbated because of the National Golden Week holiday. “Oct 1-7 is a 7 day national holiday in China….So, once this clears up….boom….7 more days of supply shortage,” he said.

When contacted late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for DHL in the United States said she was unaware of the issue and would check with colleagues in Asia.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.