When it comes to international shipping from China to the US, the Chinese New Year (CNY) is a major annual event that triggers some supply chain and logistics disruption. The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a spring festival celebrated in China and other Southeast Asian countries. It marks the end of the winter and the beginning of the traditional Chinese Calendar.
The CNY is the most significant event in China and is widely celebrated throughout the country. The CNY holiday season involves business closure and increased traveling in China as families and friends celebrate the new year. If you are shipping from China to US or shipping to Amazon FBA from China, a significant holiday you should plan around is the Chinese New Year.
When is Chinese New Year, 2022?
The exact date of the Chinese new year varies slightly. This year the Chinese new year falls on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Typically, Chinese New Year celebrations last up to seven days, beginning on Chinese New Year’s Eve and continuing through the sixth day of the first lunar month. Meaning, the Chinese New year 2022 is expected to occur between February 1 and February 7, with many businesses and schools closed. However, celebrations can often run until the Lantern Festival, which is February 16. Thus, you can expect production to be closed for the first three weeks of February. Many suppliers may even stop taking new orders as early as December.
How does the Chinese New Year Impact International Shipping?
The extended public holiday in the CNY means many workers receive extra time off to celebrate and travel with family. Thus many factories in China are closed, the absence of workers affects the international shipping companies and importers from China. When you combine this with the increase in demand for specific goods related to the festivities, there is likely to be a significant delay in shipping operations.
Apart from delays, factories also face pressure from clients as early as December for production to be shipped before the holiday starts in February. This pressure from clients increases the risk of a rushed production, affecting product quality.
Unfortunately, these delays will likely continue for some time after the festivities because the re-opening of factories takes a gradual process. Some operations may take up to a month to get back to capacity. Thus, international shipping from China and the entire southeast Asia region are often negatively impacted during Lunar New Year festivities. To avoid delayed shipment, products’ quality issues or high freight rates, it is imperative for shippers to take precautionary steps. It’s essential for you to communicate with your freight forwarder from China or FBA freight forwarder; you will be using 3pl Amazon to prepare for the peak season properly.
What Precautionary Steps should be taken to Prepare for Chinese New Year 2022?
1. Check the Factory CNY Schedule
The factory CNY schedule will help you determine whether to proceed with your order or not to prevent issues of order delay and quality. We mean when the factory is closing for CNY by factory CNY schedule. During CNY, factory workers may take between three and four weeks off for a holiday. This means that no goods can be produced during that time. So, it’s important you check with the factory to know when they will be closed for the CNY holiday so your order production won’t fall within the rush period or delay after CNY due to order backlogs before the holiday. So, make you time your order in such a way that allows inspection during production.
2. Order On Time
A major reason for quality issues with orders received a few days before the Chinese New Year holiday is rushed production. This happens because workers are excited to go home, so they rush to finish the orders before the holiday. As such, they rush their orders and can sometimes take unconventional “shortcuts” to see the order completed earlier than usual. This is when mistakes happen if the factory doesn’t have strict quality procedures. It’s, therefore, best for you or your freight forwarder to do pre-shipment on shipment in January or February. Also, ten days to CNY are not ideal for production. It puts your order at high risk of delay or quality issues. Therefore, make plans for your order to be made as early as November or the first week of December. Avoid last-minute orders in January to have time to inspect your order during and after production.
3. Get the Necessary Documents Ready Early
During the Chinese New Year peak season, the common post-production issue is delays in Chinese custom procedures. This can be frustrating for shippers, so to avoid this endeavor to get all the necessary documents for shipping ready early on or work with a reliable 3pl and always double-check with them to ensure all documents are ready before production. Get all the necessary authorization goods could be blocked if a single certificate is missing.
4. Plan Shipping Early On
Even after sorting the issue of product’s quality, you need to make adequate preparation for your shipment transportation to avoid unnecessary delay. Prepare early on for the shipping, trucking and warehousing to prevent any form of disruption in the supply chain. Amazon FBA services can cover most of these services, but you are not using 3pl Amazon, be sure to work with your freight forwarder from China for smooth shipment down to the final destination.
5. Consider Freight Forwarders’ Reputation, Capacity and Pricing
During CNY or after CNY, it is always essential to work with a reliable freight forwarder that also offers digital solutions. During this peak period, it’s normal for most 3pl and some Amazon warehouses to be packed and even more expensive. So, check-in with your fulfillment service provider to know if they can take up your order and compare their pricing with other trusted 3pl. It’s advisable to double-check the shipping pricing from your digital freight forwarder.
6. Forecast Order can Save You
Planning ahead and providing your supplier with a forecast of your order at the beginning of the year can save you from issues common with CNY, including delayed orders, quality problems, high freight costs, and inflated shipping prices. The forecast order shows how much you anticipate you will order over the year. With this, you can book your production slots for the year to manufacture your items in those designated times, therefore avoiding the CNY rush. Forecast order helps you save designated slots with your supplier; you can drop a project order volume then confirm the exact order quantity closer to the time.