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What Does Awaiting Shipment Mean? (Tracking Guide)

You are expecting a package and have received an “Awaiting Shipment” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly and what do you do if your tracking ends up stuck on this alert?

Let’s take a look…

What Does Awaiting Shipment Mean?

awaiting shipment

“Awaiting shipment” is a term used by carriers when a package or item has been processed (i.e the carrier has details of it in its system) and is now waiting for the sender to hand it over, or for it to be picked up.

In other words, this status typically occurs after an order has been placed and the seller or shipper is preparing the package for delivery.

In more detail, here’s where the “awaiting shipment” status falls into the wider picture of the carrier delivery process:

Order Processing

warehouse pickers

When a customer places an order for a product online or through another channel, the seller receives the order information.

They then proceed to process the order, which includes tasks like picking the ordered items from inventory, packaging them securely, and generating shipping labels.

Once the order is fully processed and the package is prepared for shipping, it enters the “awaiting shipment” status.

This means that the package is ready to be picked up by the chosen shipping carrier or courier company.

Carrier Arrangement


The shipper arranges with a shipping carrier (such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) to handle the transportation of the package.

This initially takes place during the processing stage above (when the label is printed and details of the package enter the carrier database).

Only when the package is ready for pick up or drop off does the carrier become involved with the physical package.


After the carrier picks up the package, it will undergo the transportation process.

This involves moving the package through various distribution centers, hubs, and transit points until it reaches its destination.

During this time, tracking information is often provided to the sender and recipient to keep them updated on the package’s journey.


Eventually, the package will be delivered to the recipient’s specified address.

Depending on the shipping service chosen, this could involve different modes of transport, levels of speed, and tracking visibility.

What’s Happening When a Package is Awaiting Shipment?

warehouse pciker packing

Here’s what typically happens when a package is in the “awaiting shipment” status:

  1. Preparation: The seller or shipper has received the order, processed it, and packaged the items securely.
  2. Label Generation: A shipping label is generated with the recipient’s address, tracking number, and other relevant information. This label is affixed to the package.
  3. Ready for Pickup: The package is placed in a designated area, often referred to as a staging or shipping area, where it is ready for the carrier to pick it up.
  4. Carrier Notification: The shipping carrier is notified that the package is ready for collection. This could be done through automated systems, online platforms, or direct communication between the shipper and the carrier.
  5. Awaiting Carrier Pickup: The package remains at the seller’s facility or designated pickup location until the carrier’s pickup schedule aligns with the pickup request. This can take a few hours to a day, depending on the carrier’s pickup schedule and the time of day the package was prepared.

During this “awaiting shipment” phase, the tracking information might show limited updates, if any at all.

Once the carrier collects the package, the tracking status will change to reflect the package’s movement through the transportation network, and more detailed tracking information will become available.

Package Stuck on “Awaiting Shipment”

roas block

If your package is stuck on the “awaiting shipment” status for an extended period of time and you’re concerned about the delay, here are some steps you can take:

1. Wait a Bit Longer

Sometimes, there might be a delay in updating tracking information due to various reasons such as high shipping volumes, technical glitches, or scheduling issues.

Give it a day or two to see if the tracking status updates.

2. Contact the Seller


If you ordered the item from a retailer or online seller, contact their customer service or support team.

Provide them with your order number and the tracking information, and ask for an explanation regarding the delay.

They might have additional information about the status of your package and any potential issues.

3. Contact the Carrier

call center staff

If you have the tracking number, you can directly contact the shipping carrier’s customer service.

They might be able to provide more information about the package’s current status and any reasons for the delay.

4. Check for Updates

Keep checking the tracking information online regularly. Sometimes, the status might change suddenly, and the package could move forward in the shipping process.

5. Verify Address and Details

Ensure that the shipping address and other details you provided during the order process are accurate. If there’s any discrepancy or error, it could lead to delays.

6. Consider the Shipping Method

DHL plane

Depending on the shipping method you chose, there might be different processing times.

For example, some shipping methods might have longer preparation times before the carrier collects the package.

7. Patience for International Shipments

world map and logistics

If your package is being shipped internationally, customs clearance can sometimes cause delays.

Customs processes can vary from country to country and might take some time.

8. Seller’s Policies

Some sellers might have specific policies regarding shipping and order processing times.

Check their website or order confirmation email for any information about potential delays.

9. Escalate if Necessary

woman on phone complaining

If you’ve tried contacting the seller and the carrier, and you’re not receiving satisfactory responses or if the delay persists, you might need to escalate the issue.

This could involve requesting a refund, asking for expedited shipping, or filing a complaint if needed.

Remember that shipping delays can happen for various reasons, and not all of them are within your control.

It’s important to stay patient and follow up with the appropriate parties to get the most accurate information about your package’s status.

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