Chinese Golden Week and Shipping: Delays Expected, What’s Next?04 Oct 2017 3 min read
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Right now China is celebrating. Golden Week (National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday), the country’s longest public holiday, from October 1st to 8th. The official holiday is actually three days, but when the holidays are blocked together with the weekend – it extends to a full week for most Chinese citizens. October 1st is the Chinese National Day it is celebrated every year to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Golden Week typically caps the peak in the shipping season along the East-West trade corridor, as factories close down at this time. Chinese suppliers shut down, some cargo flights are canceled, and ports operate with the minimum of crews. It will take a while for Chinese shipping to ramp back up in the week following Golden Week as well.
Because manufacturers and workers are eager to get ready for the holidays, there is a push towards the end of September to settle affairs and to ship as many orders as possible.
If your shipment is delayed or you have not received any status updates, you will want to contact your freight forwarder to ensure that your cargo has loaded. The ideal is for cargo to be loaded well in advance of the holidays. If this was not the case, it might be that your cargo will not ship until ocean carriers begin loading vessels again. You may want to let your customers know about possible time delays.
Stay Calm and Carry On
Don’t blame your trading or shipping partner for obstacles that arise! They do the best they can. Container and truck availability becomes very tight. Shipments may get pushed to a later date, even if you have received a booking confirmation. This is Chinese Golden Week – Sometimes “it is what it is”! Remember to relax and wish you colleagues in China, “Happy Golden Week!”
While most ports stay open in China, their operations are slow. If you depend on Chinese vendors for your inventory or parts, a good strategy would be to increase your inventory beforehand and create a buffer or consider other sources for this period. There are a few solutions to manage supply chain disruptions – you may want to offer incentives to clear out old inventory at this time, or spend time developing another aspect of your business.
If you are on a strict deadline, you may want to consider shipping by air or be open to different modes of transport. These are all options that can be evaluated on our digital dashboard. By managing all your shipments through a single platform, you’ll be able to easily answer the question “Which freight option is best for me?” Having this overview of your supply chain reduces stress at uncertain times such as these.
Help is Available
A competent freight forwarder understands that utilizing any new mode of transportation to ship your goods can be daunting. We offer a clear comparison of different modes of transportation for a full door-to-door or door-to-port service. This includes price and transit time comparison as well as shipment tracking from the moment you place your order to final delivery.
Open up the conversation with your key vendors after the holiday is over. Find out what their plans are, how they might affect you, and when they’ll be back up and running. By keeping the conversation open, you’ll be able to gauge just how serious post-Golden Week congestion is.
Another consideration is that some migrant laborers do not return after the holidays in October (using this time to switch jobs). This puts additional pressure on the workforce and production. Your partners will be dealing with additional stresses, so it is best to stay understanding.
A Boost to Business?
If managed creatively, Chinese Golden Week can be a boost rather than simply a hassle for some European businesses.
Chinese spending by vacation travelers abroad can lift sales at this time, particularly on luxury items. Making provisions to get your products into the Chinese market during October is another possible opportunity for some businesses (to benefit from increased domestic shopping by Chinese vacationers). Golden Week 2017 will likely produce an additional 270 billion yuan in consumer spending—nearly $44 billion if estimates are on target. Chinese consumers spent $180 billion domestically in 2016 from October 1 to 7.
Don’t Know How to Handle Post-Golden Week Backlog?
Be sure to keep in communication with your key contacts and vendors. Let your carriers and forwarders know of your needs.
Contact us today. We will help you manage your post-Golden Week shipping schedule, fluctuating volumes and rates to and from Asia during this holiday season in China.
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