How Chinese New Year can affect you

It’s the largest human event on the planet, we’re talking about Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival).

All of China, some 1.357 billion people, will soon (if they haven’t already!) go on holiday – celebrating the new year changing from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.

The majority of China travels home during this Spring Festival.  It is estimated citizens will travel via all modes of transport, split into the following:

  • 2.5 billion trips by land
  • 356 million by rail
  • 58 million by plane
  • 42 million by sea

Keep in mind that it is not just China that celebrates this festive time, another countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia also take time off – but it’s usually not as long.

With this major event just around the corner, how will it affect you and your shipments?

  • Space is tight – Space on board vessels and air craft starts to get tight approximately two weeks prior to New Year, and sometimes up to a month afterwards.  Bookings should be made well in advance to ensure your cargo can move within your preferred schedule.  Whilst ports are closed during the New Year period, they open approximately one week after CNY.
  • Trucks will become scarce – From approximately two weeks before CNY, all of the trucks around China will suddenly become extremely busy.  Booking trucking in advance is your best bet.
  • Your supplier will be unavailable – Ensure that you are prepared for your supplier to be away from their factory during this long period.  Making sure you have all correct documentation prior to the holidays commencing is a must.  The same goes for having all original bills of lading and telex releases.  These should all be put in place prior to the break.
  • Getting back to normal operations takes time – Many manufacturers struggle to get back to their usual operations after this long break.  Sometimes staff decide to not return after this break, causing factories to employ and subsequently train, new staff.  Eventually everything returns to normal, however, during this time it is important to ensure that the quality of your product does not decline.
  • Blank sailings – some shipping lines will introduce “blank sailings” during this period (meaning that no vessel will sail).  This can cause a lot of stress for sailings before and after CNY.

Chinese New Year is a wonderful time of year. While it may present some challenges for your international shipping, pre-planning is the best way to ensure everything runs on schedule.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!