Chinese New Year (CNY), popularly known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is considered the most important holiday in China. When it's Chinese New Year, how to avoid production delays requires careful planning and forward thinking. Even the big businesses in China shut shop during the CYN. When is Chinese New Year? This year CNY begins January 28. The length of the holiday usually varies but most employers give workers up to three weeks off.

How this might affect your production schedule

For businesses dependent on supplies from the region, the three week holiday can be a nightmare for many reasons;
  • Mass production and sample development is halted
Incredibly, this can happen way earlier than most importers expect. For instance, some Chinese suppliers will stop accepting any new orders between four to six weeks before the New Year date. They may not even be able to ship any orders meaning that your orders may have to wait until they return in about four weeks!
  • Production can reopen one to three weeks later
While the traditional holiday officially lasts a maximum of five working days and a weekend, most workers remain in their homes for at least another two weeks, some even three. This sometimes forces suppliers to wait three weeks before reopening their businesses.
  • Even after workers return, there could be further delays

Typically, as soon as the workers report to work, the first assignment is to get the big shipments out of the way (the 40’ container orders). Smaller orders, meanwhile, can remain unattended to for another few days, possibly weeks. It takes a whole month before most manufacturers return to normal lead times.

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What can you do to minimize your losses?

There are a number of steps you can take to minimize the impact of the CNY holiday on your business;
  • Prepare your orders 30-45 days before Chinese New Year
This is for productions that usually take around 15 days or less. For productions that usually take longer, prepare the orders even earlier.
  • Keep loading times in mind
The deadline for loading FCL/LCL cargo is 3-4 days before CNY. Beware that this period is notorious for high loading fees. And, if there are delays, your cargo may remain at the ports until after the Chinese New Year, leading to costly demurrage charges.
  • Place your post-CNY orders before the holiday
The main reason for this is that prices tend to go up in the first few weeks after work resumes. So, placing an order before the holiday might be a bit cheaper.
  • During the holiday, forget about China for a moment
Don’t call or text your supplier a lot during this period since your calls won’t be returned and the messages will only be replied after work resumes. So, focus on something else.

Summary

Planning for this annual holiday is something that you may need help with. It’s a bit scary but that’s how the Chinese New Year holiday works. Prepare your orders early, get your shipments on time, and you’ll have plenty of product when others don’t. If it snuck up on you this year, like most things after the holidays, don't sweat.

Let us help you figure it out! Avoid dealing with suppliers and logistics yourself – leave it to the Ironmark Logistics Team. Contact us today!

Written by Lynne Kingsley

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