Are you shipping goods to or from China? Time to prepare for Golden Week! While this week-long holiday brings joy and celebration to Chinese families and friends, it also impacts the logistics to and from China. To avoid unnecessary costs and delays, we have prepared a step-by-step guide for you. Here are 5 easy steps to ensure your goods arrive in time for Golden Week.
What is Golden Week?
Golden Week is the second-longest public holiday in China. It is kicked off by the National Day on October 1, with celebrations going on for 7 days straight. On National Day, festive activities are held across the nation to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
How does Golden Week affect the shipping industry?
During Golden Week, Chinese factories will be closed. Companies are rushing to finish production in time for pre-sailings. This puts strains on capacity, and freight prices go up. Carriers quickly become overbooked, and the risk of cargo getting rolled increases. Containers don’t make it in time for their vessels’ departures, and carriers have to reschedule shipments. Containers are placed on vessels with later departure times, which leads to delays.
This year, the problem with container shortage and lack of space on vessels is a major challenge due to the ongoing pandemic. The problem will most likely not recover until late 2021. Freight rates will probably continue to stay high, and cargo handling may slow down even more depending on the impact of the coronavirus.
After Golden Week, there is usually a drastic slowdown in demand. This leads to increased blank sailings affecting the eastbound market with higher freight rates for about a month.
5 easy steps to ensure your goods arrive in time for Golden week
So, how can you, as a shipper, ensure your goods arrive in time for Golden Week? Here are 5 easy steps.
1. How should I prepare my shipment for Golden week?
Due to the strained capacity, planning is everything this year. Step number one is to contact your freight forwarder and let them know about your needs and wishes. Together, you can develop a plan for how to handle your goods in the best way with Golden Week in mind. Perhaps, you have goods that are more urgent than others? By sharing the prognoses of production speed and goods volumes, it is easier to adjust shipping service and transport mode prior to shipment.
2. When do I need to book my shipment?
Step number two is to make sure to book your shipments well ahead of Golden Week. Once again, it is all about planning. By booking your shipments early, you will increase the chance of your goods arriving on time. If you are shipping by air, book your shipments at least two weeks in advance. For ocean freight, book one month in advance to be on the safe side.
3. Should I use FCL or LCL shipping services?
During Golden Week, hundreds of thousands of workers are usually away for celebration, affecting operations. While most ports stay open, they operate with a minimum of staff – this year, even more so, which slows down operations. If your cargo is urgent, it may be a good idea to ship your goods as FCL (Full Container Load) instead of LCL (Less Container Load) as these shipments require less handling, such as loading and unloading during the journey.
4. What transport alternative should I choose?
On the other hand, the fastest way is not necessarily the best way! Prior to Golden Week, transport services with the shortest transit times are quickly becoming over-booked. The risk is your cargo will get rolled. Therefore, pinpoint your main logistics priority before choosing transport mode. For example, if your cargo is not super urgent, you may benefit significantly from using a multimodal service that combines different transport modes.
5. How do I avoid chassis split and trucking wait fees?
During Golden Week, some ports experience chassis shortages. In this case, the trucking company may assess a chassis split fee to cover the costs of bringing the chassis to the port. To avoid this and extra trucking wait fees, consider booking PTL (Partial Truck Load) as there is usually no need to stop at port terminals along the way with this service.
The festive season is quickly approaching. If you feel like the clock is ticking, it may be time to seek the help of a dedicated freight forwarder to plan your shipments.