Having just taken a break to celebrate New Year’s Eve, it’s important to remember that Chinese New Year is just around the corner, too. Your colleagues in China will soon be off the radar, as their two-week festivities begin on 16 February and last until 2 March.
You’re probably wondering how this will affect the supply chain and what haulage companiesneed to do to prepare for the disruption. Here are a few pointers.
Effects on UK Haulage Companies Before, During and After Chinese New Year
One of the key things to keep in mind is that production in China will stop roughly two weeks before the official event. As hauliers head home for the celebrations, shipments can also experience delays. During Chinese New Year, factories will shut down completely and no supplier will accept orders. It will then take two weeks for production to get going again. Essentially, the whole of February will be affected by these celebrations. There will be a backlog of orders and significant delays to the supply chain. However, there are few things you can do to prepare and to avoid feeling the full front of the effect. Here are a few tips!
1. Get Your Orders in ASAP
Now that you know that there will be a four-week delay, you can plan to get your orders in earlier than usual to make up for it. I’d recommend getting them in before the end of January, but obviously the sooner the better.
2. Coordinate with Chinese Forwarders’ Holidays
Chinese hauliers usually take their holiday 15 to 20 days before their New Year. Of course, if drivers aren’t working, haulage companiescan’t deliver your goods, so communicate with them and make sure that they can forward your freight to port before 2 February. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the celebrations are over to receive your order.
Ship Your Cargo Before the Deadline
To avoid delays in port, haulage companiesshould ensure that their cargo is loaded and ready for shipment four days before Chinese New Year. If you miss the deadline, your goods won’t be shipped until the beginning of March, and you risk having to pay a demurrage charge, which could be up to £300.
Prepare for the Post-Chinese New Year Rush
After the festivities are over, Chinese haulage companieswill first deal with the backlogged orders. If you’ve had any delays in shipment, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough drivers to collect the freight at the port.
You should also be aware that your March orders may not get processed immediately, as they won’t be a priority. If you’re concerned by this, you might consider getting your March order in before mid-February so that they’re part of the backlog and will be dealt with sooner. If you place your order before Chinese New Year, you’ll also avoid having to pay the post-festivities shipment surcharge. After the New Year, shipment prices often increase as more workers are hired to deal with the backlog.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies or self-employed drivers with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.