Image by Alexander Kliem from Pixabay
The games are on the move! Last week, all of our games left the factory headed for our four fulfillment centers around the world. We’ll update you on where the games for each shipping “lane" currently are and give more specific delivery estimates for each region.
We learned a lot about ocean freight doing research for this update, and we’ll share some details of exactly how Fantastic Factories is getting to you from Shenzhen, China.
Here are our estimates of when games will start arriving:
- China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan - 2nd half of September
- Rest of Asia - varies by country: Late September-November
- AUS - October
- US - October or first half of November
- Europe - 2nd half of October
- Canada - November
(We aren’t sure how long customs inspections will take in each region, so for these estimates we’ve assumed it will take 10 days total for customs and transport from the destination port to the fulfillment center.)
Tracking Quick Links
Ship to Sydney, Australia - OOCL Italy
Ship to Le Havre, France - APL Vanda
Ship to Jacksonville, United States - YM Utopia
Status: At fulfillment center
Estimated Delivery: Late September - November
Games destined for Asia are already at our fulfillment partner (VFI Asia) in Longhai, China! They arrived last week over land. (Google maps says the trip from Shenzhen is about 600km and would take about 7 hours by car).
Source: Google Maps
We sent the full backer list to our global fulfillment partner (Quartermaster Logistics) last week, and they’re finishing some last administrative steps (hopefully in the next week) and then VFI will be able to start actively working on Asia fulfillment.
China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan
VFI is directly fulfilling to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, and Taiwan, and we think they will start shipping games out around the 3rd week of September.
Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand
For the rest of Asia, VFI uses a network of game stores to handle shipping. As we understand it, VFI prepares individual orders for shipment, groups those orders by country, and then forwards all those orders in bulk to the “hub” in that country. The hub store then applies a local shipping label to the box and sends it on to the backer. For backers in these countries, unfortunately we don’t think you will receive a tracking link. Instead, you’ll be able to check a general shipment status at http://vfi.asia/hubs/ .
We’re told that transit to these countries from VFI can sometimes take longer than a month, but can be as short as 2 weeks. Combined with the time at VFI, we think the bulk of these games will arrive at backers’ homes in October, assuming no issues in customs.
Australia and New Zealand
Status: At Sea
Estimated Delivery: October
Games headed for backers in Australia and New Zealand are at sea! The ship left a few days ago.
- Ship: OOCL Italy
- Departed: 8/26 (Shekou, China)
- Estimated arrival at port: 9/8 (Sydney, Australia)
Once the games arrive in Sydney, they’ll go through customs, and should be at our fulfillment partner outside of Sydney (Aetherworks) around 10 days later (9/18). They need up to a couple of weeks to start shipping and sending tracking emails, so we think most residents of Australia and New Zealand should expect their games in October.
The OOCL Italy is a Post-Panamax container ship, built in 2007, and operated by the Orient Overseas Container Line.
(you can view more photos of the OOCL Italy at its gallery on marinetraffic.com.)
Ocean Freight Loops
We didn’t know this until now, but apparently ocean freight is often organized into big loops, connecting several ports. Ships sail from one port to the next on the route, picking up and dropping off scheduled cargo. To ensure that customers have timely and reliable service, routes might have dozens of ships sailing the same route, spaced apart like buses (ideally).
The OOCL Italy is on a loop route called the Asia Australia Consortium Southern Express (A3S), which connects ports in China and Australia. The whole loop takes 35 days, but the segment we care about (Shekou to Sydney) takes 12 days. The games were loaded in Shekou (part of Shenzhen), and then the ship made a stop at Hong Kong briefly, before it left for Sydney. The ship left Hong Kong around 2019-08-27 06:00:00 GMT, so it’s on it’s fourth day at sea on its way to Sydney.
You can follow OOCL Italy’s progress on marinetraffic.com here: https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:733018/mmsi:566748000/imo:9367205/vessel:OOCL_ITALY As of 8/30 it seems like there haven’t been any vessel position updates for a few days, but regardless, the ship should dock in Sydney on 9/8. You can also see the list of port calls and arrival/departure times on OOCL’s website.
We only shipped 1 pallet to Aetherworks, so we shipped using an LCL (less than container load) / Groupage service, which means that our pallet was shipped in a shared shipping container with other items headed to the same port.
Status: At Sea
Estimated Delivery: October or first half of November
Games headed for backers in the US are at sea! The ship left a few days ago and is currently making a brief stop in Shanghai before it heads across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal on its way to Florida.
- Ship: YM UTOPIA
- Departed: 8/26 (Yantian, China)
- Estimated arrival at port: 9/25 (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Once the games arrive in Jacksonville, they’ll go through customs, and should be at our fulfillment partner in Orlando (Quartermaster Logistics) around 10 days later (10/5). They need up to four weeks to start shipping and sending tracking emails, so we think most residents of the continental US should expect their games in October or first half of November.
The YM UTOPIA is a container ship, built in 2008 and operated by Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. It is too large for the original Panama locks, but can fit through the new third set of locks, which opened in 2016.
"There's Always a Bigger Ship" by Falk Lademann is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
(you can view more photos of the YM Utopia at its gallery on marinetraffic.com.)
The YM Utopia is on a loop route called the North America East Coast Loop 3 (EC3), which connects ports in East Asia with Central America and East Coast of the United States. The journey from Yantian to Jacksonville takes 29 days. The games were loaded in Yantian (part of Shenzhen), make a stop in Shanghai, then cross the Pacific, head through the Panama Canal, make a brief stop in Savannah, Georgia, US, and then arrive in Jacksonville.
The full port list (in order) for the loop is: KAOHSIUNG - XIAMEN - HONGKONG - YANTIAN - SHANGHAI - PANAMA CANAL - MANZANILLO - SAVANNAH - JACKSONVILLE - NORFOLK - MANZANILLO - PANAMA CANAL - BALBOA - PUSAN - KAOHSIUNG
You can follow YM Utopia's progress on marinetraffic.com. You can also see the list of port calls and arrival/departure times on Yang Ming's website:
This shipment used a 40' shipping container and weighs over 12,000 kg. For reference, an empty container weighs about 4,000 kg.
Status: At Sea
Estimated Deliver: November
Games destined for Canada are grouped in with the US shipment mentioned above. Once the games arrive in Florida around October 5, they will be freighted to one of the Canadian board game fulfillment providers (not sure which one yet, but we should know soon). We'll try to make sure they don't sit in Florida longer than necessary.
Games will go through Canadian customs and then continue on to the fulfillment center (we estimate this will take 10 days total). The fulfillment center may need up to a couple weeks to prepare for shipment. Altogether, we think most Canadian orders should get delivered in November.
Status: At departure port, waiting for ship
Estimated Delivery: October or first half of November
Games headed for backers in Europe are waiting at port in Yantian, China! The ship will arrive on 9/4, and should leave the same day on its way to Le Havre, France via the Suez Canal.
- Ship: APL Vanda
- Estimated Departure: 9/4 (Yantian, China)
- Estimated arrival at port: 9/27 (Le Havre, France)
Once the games arrive in Le Havre, they’ll go through customs, and should be at our fulfillment partner in Strasbourg, France (Meeple Logistics) around 10 days later (10/7). They need up to four weeks to start shipping and sending tracking emails, so we think most residents Europe should expect their games in late October or first half of November.
The APL Vanda is a huge container ship, built in 2013 and operated by the CMA CGM Group. It is the largest of the three ships carrying Fantastic Factories.
(you can view more photos of the APL Vanda at its gallery on marinetraffic.com.)
The APL Vanda is on a loop route called the French Asia Line 3 (FAL3), which connects ports in East Asia with France, the Netherlands, and Germany via the Suez Canal. The journey from Yantian to Le Havre takes 25 days.
You can follow APL Vanda's progress on marinetraffic.com, and you can read more about the French Asia Line 3 and the ships that ply it at CMA CGM's site.
We sent 6 pallets via LCL service (we shared a container). The 6 pallets weighed 1750 kg.
- First drafts of both the Hungarian and Italian rulebook translations are done and we've sent them to the translators to check for errors. We should be able to publish the final versions in the next couple weeks.
- We're working on laying out the Thai rulebook translation now.
- We'll work hard to remove the roadblocks preventing Asia fulfillment from starting, and with luck we might be able to start fulfilling Asia orders in a couple weeks.
- We've requested a few production copies of the game to be airmailed to us, so we should have photos of the "fixed" blue dice soon.
We hope the freight details were interesting! And we can't wait to get the games in your hands!
Thanks again for all your support!
Joseph and Justin