July 8, 2021: Navigating the Shipping Crisis
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
We have navigated the international shipping crisis.
1. Due to world events, international shipping is a operating at 65% delayed timelines, and charges are up between 300-400%.
2. Dogs BOND had to choose between taking a 250% freight surge price; or find storage and insurance partners for the games in China for an unknown amount of time.
3. Rather than wait and risk further delays and unknown costs in China, the Dogs BOND team will pay for the cost of the freight surge pricing. You can chip in for the cost we would welcome the help - but there is NO OBLIGATION to contribute. Everyone will get their boxes no matter what.
4. Dogs BOND is expected to be on a ship and setting sail on July 17, 2021! We will keep everyone updated as we learn more about shipping / tracking numbers etc.
International Freight Shipping Update
With a tremendous amount of humility, I will share some of the challenges and compromises that we are having to make to get Dogs BOND across the finish line. The compound crises of COVID and the Suez Canal ship hit us as a 1-2 combination. It’s not enough to knock us down but we’re definitely going to feel it.
Here’s what we were faced with:
· International Freight Shipping Estimate / Quote in Sept 2020: $2800 - $3200
· International Freight Shipping Estimate / Quote as on June 28, 2021: $8000
Upon seeing a 250% spike in the price, I fired off several very concerned emails and had some loud video conversations with our shipping partners. I am working with them to confirm shipping details, schedule, and of course pricing. Based on these conversations and my own research within the industry – we are simply at the right place at the wrong time. I had very plain conversations with the professionals.
“This is an unforeseeable, completely nightmare situation for international freight shipping” ~Vicki M. our freight shipping vendor
Upon working with the vendors and asking many professionals, we ran through several options very quickly. Jump to Option C if you want to see what we’re doing.
Option A: Find storage in China. Wait for freight shipping prices to go down.
Physically store games in China to await when the freight costs are not so high.
Why not Option A:
Ultimately, even shipping industry experts do not know when things might go down to “pre-pandemic & pre-suez canal problem” pricing
Finding a responsible, responsive partner for storage would take time
Financial responsibility for storage, insurance, and other costs which are unknown
Don’t want to have to leverage the patience of our backers anymore than absolutely necessary.
The animals that our project will be helping can’t wait and we want to get the games into the hands of our backers and in with the rescue organizations as well.
Option B: Team up with other publishers / creators who are finding storage in China to defray shipping costs and wait for shipping prices to go down.
The industry is very collaborative, and several creators are considering delaying project delivery
The board game industry is impacted, and the costs may increase.
Why not Option B:
Ultimately, aligning with other creators in the short term sounds like a good option but the long term implications and loss of control would mean other problems later.
Conflicts could arise if the different project creators have different tolerances for when the games should be shipped / paid for
Would someone expect us to continue paying for storage if we decided to ship a week or a month ahead of when they were ready?
Option C (what we chose): The Dogs BOND team will pay the price surge of freight shipping. After much conversation, we arrived at a slightly more manageable number primarily because we’re ready to be picked up from the factory right now and we don’t take up that much space on a ship.
International Freight Shipping Estimate / Quote as on July 2, 2021: $5000
We can stay closer to our revised timeline; with the shipment on a boat expected July 17
The cost of shipping now, may be revealed as only marginally more expensive than committing to storage in China and waiting for prices to return to normal.
International backers will see customs and VAT costs which we can address on a case-by-case basis. Please be patient with us as we work through those details.
The freight company will charge us the balance when the games arrive in the US – meaning they’re as incentivized for the shipping to be done safely and securely
So that’s where we landed. I figure that I’m going to have to pay now or later, but if we pay now at least we can try to hold true to our timeline. Of course, it’s a fairly large outlay of cash which the project doesn’t exactly have right now. Fortunately the freight company is giving me a grace period to come up with the rest of the funds which will be entirely funded from (Alex's) personal funds.
With absolutely no obligation or expectation, if you’d like to contribute towards the increased freight shipping overage, we’d appreciate any amount you feel comfortable to chip in. We would welcome the help if you are able. All Backers will receive the games that you ordered and there is no expectation that you should have to pay more in shipping to cover these additional costs.
We are staying committed to our Backers: Dogs BOND is committed to shipping the game and keeping aligned to the original shipping estimates which are on our Kickstarter Campaign Page. Dogs BOND is not charging any of our backers additional shipping fees for anyone to receive games. We are beholden to market forces, and we’re continuing share details as we learn them.
If you’ve been on Kickstarter backing board games before, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of some other infamous distribution horror stories. Unfortunately they’re still up to no good. That’s not us.
Q: Would it have been cheaper in the long run to print the game in the USA or Canada?
A: I did the math, and even with the additional pricing in the freight shipping our overall costs were less than the print cost estimates to manufacture in the US / Canada. Perhaps the scheduling would not have been quite so fraught with challenges, but there are world events at play which I cannot render a guess towards. Things will change in the future and we’ll be watching. We've learned about a zillion things with this first Kickstarter and when we are back with an expansion or a new game, we will be sure to implement those.
A Note from Alex
This is by far the most challenging update I've ever had to write about this project. Sarah and Kiki are great partners in reminding me that we have an amazing backer community that is full of kind hearted people! People who love dogs, and people who love what we're doing. So thank you again from the bottom of our hearts that you've put this much faith in us.
The games are boarding the ship in just a few days time. We're on our way to our forever homes!