I’m a shipping freak. I love tracking packages, and I love knowing what happens when a package is sent. I have a pretty good understanding of how everything works — when and why packages are delayed, even when FedEx and UPS internally aren’t even so sure why. Everyone knows Apple’s iPads are due to be received (and available in stores) this Saturday, the 3rd. So, of course, Apple doesn’t want a single person getting an iPad early. Well, how do you completely control that? You request a block on delivery with your shipper of choice until the actual delivery date comes up.
But that doesn’t always do it. Sometimes there’s a mistake made, sometimes the local hub doesn’t care, or the package is there and no one notices and it gets sent out on the delivery truck. How do you completely fix this? You do what Apple is doing now. Shipments of iPads are due to reach the U.S. tomorrow and the next day, and if this was a normal shipment, the packages would be delivered on April 1st, not April 3rd. But, they can’t pass through Louisville, KY (UPS’ main hub) before passing through customs clearance. Since it’s an international shipment, there’s no way around that. Because Apple is shipping these things in bulk (yes, bulk), the easiest way to do this is to have the merchandise pre-cleared when it leaves China with UPS’s service WorldEase. The interesting thing though, is that U.S. Customs has not received any clearance papers yet — a surefire way to completely control the shipments until the actual delivery date and 100% bypass any possible shipper mistakes.