THE Chinese New Year (CNY) is the most important festival in China with the main celebrations lasting for more than three weeks.
Despite it being a long-drawn-out celebration, there are usually only seven actual days of public holiday. However, many factories allow for a longer holiday as the majority of employees are migrant workers who see the time off as an opportunity to visit to their rural villages and spend time with their families.
During this time, factories are unable to maintain a normal production volume due to lower staff levels, resulting in a long shutdown period.
Before and during CNY, space gets booked fast, shipping rates go up because of limited capacity, and transit times increase due to congestion. To avoid unnecessary costs and delays there are five things you can do, according to a blog by Carmen Yeung on Greencarrier - one of the Nordic countries largest privately owned logistics companies.
First of all, maintain a close dialogue with your manufacturer to make sure the production process is on schedule and you may also want to buffer for the CNY. By identifying the production speed, you will have enough time to update your freight forwarder on the prognosis of your goods volumes and any possible changes prior to shipment.
Secondly, book your shipment as early as possible, preferably a month in advance, to secure space for your goods. Some freight forwarders are able to provide you with a peak season schedule and reserve space for your goods based on the analysis of past shipping data.
Thirdly, shippers should also consider choosing a multimodal service to avoid higher shipping rates. Ask your freight forwarder for the option of using a transport service that combines different modes of transport such as sea, air, road and rail. Sometimes, choosing a multimodal transport service with slightly longer transit times pays off, as the regular services with faster transit times tend to get overbooked.
Fourthly, you might want to book a partial truck load to avoid congestion, extra trucking wait fees and long transit times, as this service doesn't usually involve having to stop at distribution terminals along the way.
Finally, keep an eye on the cargo ready date for the possibility of early shipment. The cargo ready date - the day the cargo is expected to be available - usually shifts a lot prior to the CNY when the factories kick into a higher gear. Make sure to check the date regularly as it may be possible to arrange an early shipment with your freight forwarder if your cargo is ready earlier than expected.
According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Rat are blessed with material success, wellness and luxury in life. To help you remain successful, in particular with your shipments during this festive yet busy season, keep in mind the five suggestions mentioned above.