The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is one of the most important holiday periods in East Asia. For shippers, it presents specific logistical challenges. Production slows down, operations are limited, schedules get disrupted, and transportation gets delayed leading to significant supply chain disruptions.
With 43 years of shipping and logistics experience, BTX Global Logistics is always prepared to help you mitigate the effects of the Lunar New Year on your supply chain through proper planning and flexible solutions.
When is the Lunar New Year in 2024?
The Lunar New Year is celebrated in several Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Korea. The dates vary each year because they follow the lunar calendar. Usually, the new year falls between January 21 and February 20. The celebrations last for 15 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival. In 2024, the Lunar New Year will commence on February 9th (Friday) and conclude with the Lantern Festival on February 24th (Saturday). The main festival will fall on Saturday, February 10th, this year.
What is the impact of the Lunar New Year on shipping and logistics?
As a primary trade center, especially for ocean freight shipping, slowdowns in China can affect the entire global supply chain. During the Lunar New Year celebrations, nearly all factories and manufacturers in China halt their processes, ports limit their operations, and workers are unavailable – thus causing disruptions to regular operations.
- Factory closures lead to disrupted supply - Many manufacturing facilities shut down for an extended period, typically from two to four weeks.
- Decreased workforce and halted operations - A significant portion of the workforce in the country takes time off during the Lunar New Year to celebrate it with their families.
- Increased shipping demand before the holiday week - In the lead-up to the Lunar New Year, businesses pull forward their shipping needs, which creates capacity crunches.
- Higher shipping costs and processing time - Increased demand and low supply lead to inflated rates. As freight volume is high, it also leads to higher time for documentation and customs clearance processes.
- Shortage of containers and vessels for exports - A shortage of empty containers continues to be a key source of disruption during the Lunar New Year being caused by a ripple effect of factors including rising global demand and operational challenges.
Preparing and planning are the keys to properly managing your supply chain operations to minimize the effects of the Lunar New Year on your business. A proactive approach is essential and involves planning ahead, clear communication, having a reliable partner like BTX, and contingency plans. Below are a few examples of how you can prepare your business for the Lunar New Year now and in the future:
- Evaluate your logistics partners for reliability and resources - Assess your logistics partners’ experience, reliability, and track record in handling shipments during the Lunar New Year. Choose carriers with a history of successfully delivering freight in peak seasons and holidays with the highest efficiency and transparency. Founded in 1980, BTX has the experience to find the best options (including Air Freight) for your transportation needs.
- Pre-book containers or vessel space - Gauge your shipping requirements and secure vessel/container space with your carrier at reasonable freight rates well in advance. With high demand for transportation services around the holiday season, booking vessel space early can ensure your cargo gets prioritized.
- Leverage data for effective inventory management - Analyze past customer behaviors and historical order patterns during the Lunar New Year season. It can guide your inventory planning, helping you anticipate demand and ensure you have extra inventory to cater to your customers in case of shipping delays.
- Opt for smaller, multiple shipments instead of a full container load - When dealing with a substantial volume of goods around peak season, distribute your bigger shipment into multiple less-than-container loads (LCLs), each package with its separate bill of lading (BoL). This way, you can reduce the risk of shipping delays, as any delays affecting one container or carrier will not impact the entire shipment.
BTX Global Logistics is ready to help you navigate through any logistical challenges. With 43 years of experience in domestic and global transportation services by Air, Land, and Sea, BTX is the best choice to keep your shipments moving and your customers happy. Contact BTX here.