In one of our posts, we talked briefly about the possibility of delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria, most especially in the yuletide. In this particular post, we delve in with a little deeper context. 

Have you ever wondered why a freight forwarder’s professional service is usually sought in handling delivery of goods? One major reason is usually to avoid any form of delay in delivery of goods at the point of destinations and guarantee seamless shipping experience.

This is why the door to door shipping is important. A professional freight forwarder would handle the delivery of goods from port-to-port, door-to-door without recording any form of delay in the delivery of goods. It is usually so because the overall handling from pickup to shipping, and then to delivery of goods at the consignee’s door post, is single-handedly run by the company. This helps in saving the consignee a lot of untold heartaches from issues of improper documentation, and other possible dangers, such as demurrage, theft, insecurity etc.

Most times, the delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria may be quite inevitable due to some possible unforeseen causes. Some of these causes are uncontrollable by the Freight forwarder because of situations beyond their control. And such types of situations have succeeded in some cases in soiling the reputations of some well-meaning freight forwarders.

This informs of the reason why our professionals at Bowa-Gate Global Limited invests extensively in being ahead of a possible crisis in suppressing future unforeseen circumstances.

You may like to Read: Documents required for Customs Clearance

It is important we show you what we have discovered, from experience, most of the reasons why there are issues of delay in delivery of goods at the country of destination.

Common Reasons for the Delay in Delivery of Goods in Nigeria:

  1. Delay of Money Transfer between financial institutions
  2. Pickup schedule delay from the suppliers and shippers
  3. Airline flight schedule
  4. Estimated Time of Arrival
  5. Cargo discharge delay at Port terminal and storage facilities
  6. Nigeria Customs service examination process
  7. Goods Off-Loading & Sorting Delay
  8. Transportation systems (Road Network) In Nigeria
  9. Delay caused by the Handling Company
  10. Goods Prohibition policy by Nigeria Customs Services may change unexpectedly/unknowingly


In over two decades of experience, we have had encounters with the listed possible causes of delay, some of which may be quite daunting and discouraging. With time, some more reasons may spring up regardless of the type of shipment or professionalism of the freight forwarder/clearing agent. 

First of all, I want you to understand that the list reasons are common causes of delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria. There may be other reasons that may cause delay. At times, it may be under declaration of the goods value with the customs or the shipment may be prohibited goods by Nigeria customs services.

You may also like to Read: Reclaim Your Seized Packages from Customs

Delay of Money Transfer between financial institutions (Nigeria & Abroad)

delay in delivery of goods
International Money Transfer

Recall that the middleman nature of the freight forwarding company may require us to use available money transfer mediums such as their domiciliary accounts. Most times, there are usually delays in the foreign exchange process between the financial institutions in Nigeria and abroad. This bothers on the money transfer instruction which may delay up to 72 hours and sometimes more. 

This type of delay may not be avoidable as its root cause may be beyond the direct control of either party involved in the shipping process as well as in the exchange process. Provided that the funds were not being pended due to incorrect details on the process of money transfer.



Pickup Schedule Delay from the Suppliers and Shippers

Some factors such as distance, unavailability of the suppliers at the time of calls, packaging process and other reasons may attribute to pickup schedule delay which usually translates to a delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria. 

Just as the problems of distance of location of pickup, another issue may be that of the suppliers being unavailable to attend to the immediate expectation of the importer/freight forwarder. The importance of their availability cannot be overemphasized.

Another cause of delay in cargo pickup could be the event of the uncertainty of weight and dimension of the goods, and of course improper packaging from your supplier during the course of moving the goods to the terminal warehouse

Read also: Reasons Why Freight Rates Fluctuates


Air line and Shipping line Voyage Schedule

Be informed that most companies offering door-to-door shipping services do depend on the already established air/shipping lines in getting consignee goods out. In that case, they rely on the schedules provided by the airlines or shipping lines. 

This is another mechanism that causes delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria as it involves waiting for the schedules to arrive at the time determined by the shipping lines or airlines. 

In actual sense, the goods are moved whenever flight and voyage time is set. This may however not be in the control of your freight forwarder. This causes delay of fast cargo delivery in Nigeria.


Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)

Due to the unpredictability of time, the Estimated Time of arrival (ETA) of goods may change middleway to a successful delivery process. The change may be caused by any situation, some of which are due to some irreversible or uncontrollable reasons, as follows:

  • Bad weather conditions
  • Technical issue of Cargo airplane
  • Stopover in other countries
  • Security threats like political crisis and terrorism


Cargo Discharge Delay at Port Terminal and Storage Facilities

If you have ever experienced a delay in delivery of goods, one of such reasons might be at the off-loading stage. Discharging your cargo at the Port terminal and/or Warehouse/storage facilities may be on hold. This is strictly the call of the Port Authorities as the case may be. It is one of the most common causes of delay in delivery of goods. In the past, we have experienced days and weeks of delays before off-loading begins in some ships or aeroplanes.


Nigeria Customs service examination process

Inspection activities and the Nigerian Customs Services are like 5 & 6. The process of checking imported goods most times takes very cumbersome and complicated procedures which consequently causes delay. Sometimes this might be as a result of a periodic rush.

The Nigerian Customs Service deals with compliance of consignee’s documents and if the documents contain misrepresented information of the imported goods, it affects the flow of inspection activities. This, therefore, leaves a cause for demurrage charges, or extra cost and delay in delivery of goods.

There are some major causes of delay by the Nigeria Customs Services:

  • Wrong HS Code declaration on Form M
  • Importation of Contraband items
  • Incompleted Import documents (Form M, PAAR, MSDS) and certificates (SONCAP, Import Permit) from agencies like NAFDAC, SON, Quarantine agencies
  • Server breakdown at the hour of inspection
  • Wrong declaration of the value of goods


Goods Off-Loading & Sorting

Another cause of delay in delivery of goods in Nigeria is the off-loading process and sorting. The process of off-loading goods and sorting may take time. All the goods loaded inside containers will undergo a selection and separating stage where Customs Agents identify the goods with the Bill of Lading number for the Customs officers to begin their work.


Transportation systems (Road Network) In Nigeria

If you are used to the Tin Can Island Port in Apapa, Lagos, you’d understand how challenging the bad road networks within the environment is. It forms congestion that leaves a heavy grid along the area. Containers transfer to port terminal apparently goes through delay in delivery of goods in the course of moving them to the warehouse after being released by the Customs and Government agents.

There have been overtime, records of breakdown of trucks due to mechanical faults caused by the poor state of the roads, which adds up to a possible cause of delay in delivery of goods.


Delay caused by the Handling Company

Sometimes, some possible cause of delay are avoidable. Such causes as important as adequate preparation of

  • Proper preparation of import documents
  • Timely follow-up on the Shippers from port of loading to port of destination.
  • staying informed about the road network
  • Knowing the business of a handling company adequately.


Goods Prohibition Policy by Nigeria Customs Services may change unexpectedly/unknowingly

We have witnessed a situation whereby at the time of consignee’s goods arriving, there had been an unexpected change in the Goods Prohibition Policy by the Nigeria Customs Services. This type of situation had left the goods in a delayed state for days and weeks, which accumulated some demurrage charges.



Although some of these delays are avoidable through adequate professional handling approaches by the Freight Forwarding Company in care of the goods. As an experienced freight forwarder in Nigeria, Bowagate Global Limited endeavours to go ahead of the game in ensuring that we put some of these situations under check. With proper planning in place, combined with thorough examination and preparation of all documents before commencing shipping of goods to Nigeria.


We put together come mistakes importers makes and encourage you to avoid them.


Let’s Discuss Our Freight Service

You’ll definitely like our service as we have an irresistible advantage, with you in mind. Chat with us directly via Whatsapp HERE. You can also send an email to [email protected].

Our lines are open during business hours.

You can leave your business in our hands, be it Importation, Exportation, Freight Forwarding, Clearing/Customs Duty BrokerageGroupage FreightWarehousing, Consolidation, Air Freight Consolidation, Shipping GloballyDoor to Door Freight Shipping, etc.

Request a Quote HERE. For more information, write to us via the contact form.

Do you like this Post? Use the comment box also for questions.

× I can help you. Drop a message.