Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, commences on February 19th. 2015 marks the year of the goat/sheep. Even if no one in your company celebrates this holiday, if your company engages in international shipping with the Far East, then you should pay very close attention to this holiday. The date for Chinese New Year can appear throughout January to February. Every year, the holiday is more than just a 1-day affair, with celebrations lasting about a week.
Workers at ports, terminals and factories in China and other Far East nations are given a week to two weeks prior to the holiday to leave their jobs and return home. Plus, many factories allow an additional week after the holiday for their workers to return. During this entire process, many factories and terminals are closed. If you add up all of the weeks when these places are closed, they really add up.
To avoid any conflicts from the Chinese New Year, supply chains must plan ahead or their shipments will get stuck. Companies must receive ocean freight shipping rates ahead of the holiday. Cargo must be exported from China by early January at the latest. Afterwards, it would be impossible to export. And importing during the holiday is impossible as well. Companies must plan ahead with their suppliers and factories to speed up production before the holiday. And sales from China during the holiday are difficult as well.
Many carriers will avoid the holiday by removing their vessels from their normal routes to China and add longer transportation times. Therefore, companies should plan ahead with a trusted freight forwarder. Remember, shipping from China becomes impossible during the holiday, so please plan before and don’t get stuck.