How to avoid delays due to Chinese holidays when sourcing from China?
China has without doubt become a major global player in trade as a supplier and as a market. China became the world’s largest exporter of goods in 2009, and the largest trading nation in goods in 2013. China has a disproportionately high impact on specific regions and sectors, notably those with globally integrated technology chains, and resource-exporting sectors for which China is a big market.
While COVID-19-related restrictions have been lifted in some places around the world, some countries are still in lockdown mode. Production of goods globally is still running short of demand in these countries. Chinese exporters are actively filling this vacuum.
If you trade with China, you must consider the holidays celebrated in China. We often do not realize the impact of Chinese holidays on the transport of goods from China, as well as China’s production in general. For example, if you’re running out of stock right now, you urgently need to air a box of your products from China to your warehouse. But you are told that your suppliers are on holiday. Your sourcing plan is completely disrupted.
It is always a good idea to prepare for it in advance so as not to be unpleasantly surprised by the delay in delivering the goods.
We have prepared a list of Chinese holidays that must be taken into account when planning business contacts with Chinese and deadlines for placing orders.
It is easy to remember these 3 holidays following solar calendar. They are January 1st, May 1st and October 1st.
January 1st is the New Year’s Day. It is a festival observed in most of the world on 1st of January. During this time, most north America or Europe countries also celebrate Christmas and New Year.
May 1st is Labor Day, also called May Day. It lasts 5 days. Many Chinese People go out for travelling to celebrate it.
October 1st is National Day. October 1st official holiday is one week off. The most important part you need to remember is the week after they come back from the holiday is called the Golden Week. It is because all business starting from that week are gearing up for quarter 4. It has a significant impact on imports from China.
Let’s go ahead with other 4 holidays follow the lunar calendar.
Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English. During this festival, the whole family are expected to come home and pay respect to the members who passed away especially the ancestors.
Early June is the 2nd lunar calendar holiday Dragon Boat Festival. A notable part to celebrate it is eating Zongzi with family members and friends, and watching dragon boat racing.
The Mid-Autumn Festival also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival. A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, or floating sky lanterns. Family get together to eat moon cakes and watch the moon.
The last one is Chinese New Year holiday. It usually falls in February or towards the end of January. Chinese New Year has always been a big disrupter in the global supply chain as many factories and businesses will shut down up to 10 days or longer to allow the employees to return to their families and to celebrate it. There is always a tense time before Chinese New Year. Importers are placing larger orders to survive a long break, and the Chinese are in a hurry to send goods.
Before the holiday break, terminals are overloaded, and everyone wants to load their goods on the ship, which is why freight prices increase significantly. We should also take into account the longer transport time due to delays in the port. Some loads will not leave the port at all and will wait until the end of the holiday season.
Therefore, how significant is the impact of Chinese holidays on transport, it is recommended to plan orders and transport goods from China well in advance.
We also prepared a list of several main logistics transportation modes. With different shipping modes, the transit time is different. You could refer it when making your sourcing plan.
Express Freight (International Courier)
Shipping with express freight means convenience, speed, and an easier customs process, but you’ll pay a price, express freight is limited to small shipments only. Weight and size restrictions vary by courier.
While there are many resellers, the market is dominated by a few large players, namely UPS, FedEx, TNT and DHL.
Air freight means leveraging almost the same speed as courier shipping but with processes optimized for international freight. Air freight processes are more complex and less automated than express freight but are less painful than ocean freight processes.
Ocean freight is generally cheaper than air freight. But it’s also slower and less reliable ( such as delays caused by port congestion, customs hold-ups, bad weather, etc). That makes it a risky choice if you have a hard deadline.
Rail freight is a good choice when shipping large volumes of cargo over long distances across borders. For European logistics operators that are moving cargo inland from port facilities, rail freight is a good alternative. It is also best to use when large volumes are shipped in bulk, especially when time is a factor.