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The best way to be ready for Chinese New Year (CNY)


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Chinese New Year Shipping Guide

When does the Chinese New Year occur?

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, falls at the end of January or beginning of February (Lunar Calendar).

How are LCL shipments impacted by Chinese New Year closures?

  • During Chinese New Year, factories in China are typically closed for a week, causing delays and disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Factory workers travel to celebrate the holiday with their families, leading to production shutdowns.

What are the impacts on ocean freight and airfreight costs?

  • Ocean and airfreight costs rise significantly before the Chinese New Year due to increased demand and capacity constraints.
  • Rates may start to drop after the holiday, but space availability becomes challenging, and carriers overbook.

What will be the rise in freight charges?

  • Ocean carriers issue General Rate Increases (GRI) as the holiday approaches, with carriers initiating blank sailing strategies.
  • The market's strength determines if carriers add more capacity to meet demand.

How will Chinese New Year affect ocean freight space?

  • Ocean freight capacity is limited before the Chinese New Year, and most services operate at full capacity.
  • After the holiday, there are more empty sailings to match capacity with demand due to fewer services offered.

What options are available for shipping before Chinese New Year?

  • Consider shipping by air or LCL Premium service for tight deadlines.
  • Choosing a service with slightly longer transit time can prevent cargo from being rolled to the next week.
  • Being flexible with the port of discharge, especially for inland shipments, can provide more sailing options.

How does congestion at USWC ports affect shipments?

  • Crowding at USWC ports, like LAX/LGB, affects transit to US inland rail platforms.
  • Terminal workers at these ports may experience COVID-19 instances, impacting labor productivity.
  • Transloading from congested ports may be necessary.

Why is the Chinese New Year in 2021 different from previous years?

  • The 2021 Chinese New Year is affected by COVID-19, leading to strong demand and fewer blank sailings.
  • Space is limited due to the expectation that demand will not decrease.

Why should businesses avoid last-minute shipping decisions?

Last-minute decisions can lead to limited air or LCL capacity, especially given the strong air freight market.

How can businesses minimize shipping disruptions around Chinese New Year?

  • Plan for contingencies and explore alternative shipping methods.
  • Consider longer transit times, flexible port choices, and transloading options to adapt to the changing conditions.

How can COVID-19 impact shipping operations at USWC ports?

Increased COVID-19 cases among terminal workers can affect labor productivity and slow down operations at ports like LAX/LGB.

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