Is FedEx tracking telling you that there may be a potential delay on your shipment?

This can be confusing, and lead you to wonder – is there actually any sort of delay, and if so, how long will it be? How will it ultimately affect when the package will be delivered?

These are excellent questions.

Thankfully, this message is quite common, so we know a lot about what causes it, and how it affects delivery.

In this article, I’ll be sharing everything that you need to know!

Why Is FedEx Stating That My Package Is Potentially Delayed?

Fedex Delivery Vehicle

So, what does ‘potential delay’ actually mean?

In essence, FedEx uses this messages when they predict a delay will occur, but one actually hasn’t happened yet.

Many people don’t know this, but FedEx is exceptional at predicting when packages are likely to arrive. Considering they ship over 3 billion packages a year according to Statista, they’ve got to be incredibly good at forecasting to ensure their entire network operates as smoothly as possible!

In fact, FedEx has an entire meteorologist team whose sole job is to predict the weather, so they can avoid packages becoming late due to weather, natural disasters, or storms.

Anyhow, according to the data that FedEx has at this moment, they believe that a delay is likely to occur with your package. So, they are letting you know right now, in order to be as transparent as possible.

What Would Cause A Package To Actually Become Delayed?

So, what potential delays are actually likely to occur? Chances are, if a delay occurs, it will end up being one of the following:

  • Bad weather will prevent planes from taking off, or trucks from moving.
  • A natural disaster is likely to occur in the area that your package will be moving through.
  • A FedEx facility that your package will be routed through is experiencing strikes or staffing shortages.
  • FedEx is experiencing a high volume of shipments, and is unable to keep up with the amount of packages being processed.
  • Seaports are currently overloaded, and FedEx predicts they will need to wait longer than normal for your package to get off the ship.
  • There is a delay with customs in the country your package is moving through (international shipments only.)
  • Other packages similar to yours are currently experiencing delays.
  • FedEx was recently unable to access your address for a different shipment. If you live in an apartment, check out this article for tips to ensure smooth delivery!
  • Your local FedEx facility has been unable to complete deliveries on time.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know the exact reason why FedEx is mentioning a potential delay. However, it will almost always fall into one of the reasons mentioned above.

How Long Is The Delay Likely To Last?

Now that we know that a delay is likely to occur, here comes the important question – how will it affect you? How much longer will the delay add to the total transit time of the package?

Unfortunately, because the cause of the delay isn’t yet known, it can be difficult to say for sure.

Most FedEx delays, such as operational delays, weather delays, and local delivery restrictions tend to resolve themselves in 1-2 days. This means that you will receive your package 1-2 days after you otherwise would.

However, issues with your product clearing customs can take a week or longer to resolve, in extreme cases.

Thankfully, once a delay actually occurs, FedEx will usually update the tracking page to provide more information on the cause of the delay. This information can be used to help determine how long it will take for the shipment to arrive.

Additionally, the time the delay occurs matters as well.

For example, if the delay occurs shortly after your package has shipped, this gives FedEx a larger window to make things right, and ensure the package still arrives on time.

If the delay occurs when it’s already nearby however, there’s not a whole lot FedEx can do to make up for lost time.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a delay of 1-2 days in most circumstances. FedEx is great about making sure that packages arrive on time, and goes to great lengths to ensure that shipments do not arrive late.

That being said, if you ordered a package online and it came with a delivery guarantee, it may be worth reaching out to the seller to see if you are entitled to any refunds for late delivery!

Is There Anything I Can Do?

Fedex Delivery Manager, On Fedex Mobile App

In some cases, there are things you can do to actually speed up the delivery of your package. However, it’s highly dependent on where your package is currently located.

If tracking still says that the package will potentially be delayed, there is no point in contacting FedEx right now – especially if you aren’t sure what that delay might be.

For now, the best course of action will be to continue paying attention to updates on the tracking page, and learning more about the specific delay if it actually occurs.

However, if you know that the issue will be caused by delivery from your local facility to your house, it may be a good idea to reroute the package to a FedEx OnSite location.

FedEx OnSite locations are locations that have partnered with FedEx, that will hold onto packages on your behalf. These may include retail stores like Walgreens, for example.

I live in a rural town in Washington State, and in winter time it’s impossible for drivers to access my front door due to snow. So, to avoid delays, I use FedEx Delivery Manager to have packages rerouted to a local FedEx OnSite location, and pick them up there instead.

This helps to avoid any potential delays in receiving my packages. When the package is delivered to an OnSite location, tracking updates to say ‘Tendered at FedEx OnSite.’

Alternatively, you can also request that the package be held at a FedEx location, and then you can pick it up from them directly.

Again, this will only help you if the delay is caused by an inability to actually deliver the package – not if the delay occurs earlier on in the shipment process.


If FedEx is telling you that there’s a potential delay, don’t worry! A delay hasn’t actually occurred yet.

However, FedEx is predicting that one will occur at some point, and you may expect your estimated delivery date to get pushed back.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s provided some insight.

If you have any other questions about FedEx, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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