... As for ships taking a long time to dock, do you mean in game time (months), or in real time (long minutes while you're watching). I generally play with the speed set to Very Fast. That seems to make things less boring, but it still is months in game time. Sometimes they just don't seem to want to dock.
The ships always make weird maneuvers when coming in to dock. The position of the dock in relation to the coast, and in relation to what angle the ships come in from, can make this take longer. Try to pay attention to where ships come in on the edge of the map, and build additional docks closer to there, along straight stretches of shoreline; [if they are built along] diagonal shorelines, or ... [in] harbors, [it] makes for lots of weird zigzaggy maneuvers.
I've noticed that the frequency of freighters also seems to have a relation to your relations with U.S. and Russia. Really good relations with either or both makes for lots of freighters; so does a stable political climate. Rebel attacks, coup attempts and the like tend to slow down how often freighters show up, it seems. ...
That last comment may point toward the economic and political difficulty level slider settings for the initial map setup.