China’s Golden Week and its Impact on Logistics

Chinese National Day is celebrated on the 1st of October every year to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. While in other countries, a national bank holiday is no big deal, if you ‘re-importing from China, it’s important you have this date on your calendar, because this national holiday lasts for seven days! Many people in China take time off work during the national holiday to make the most of the special events all over the country and visit their families. The impact on this for importers is that your Chinese suppliers will likely shut down for the week and your usual contacts won’t be available. As a result, cargo flights are canceled, ports operate with skeleton crews, and carriers reduce their sailings to approximately 40% of the average weekly capacity, which means little product gets in or out of China during this time. Inevitably, large backlogs of orders and freight tend to pile up in the days before and after the holiday (especially as retailers plan for Christmas) which can leave importers fighting for space and rates at a premium. If you have goods to ship from China before, during, or after Golden Week, speak to your freight forwarder as soon as possible to book your cargo and secure your space. So, if you can’t get hold of your Chinese supplier during Golden Week – don’t panic, it’s completely normal! And remember it’s an annual holiday that falls on the same date every year, so mark it on your calendar, so you’re prepared for it every time.

How does Chinese Golden Week affect logistics?

Prices for the ocean and air freight will go up As demand for Chinese exports rises due to importers attempting to get their exports out of the country before the factories completely shut down their operations, this will further constrain space which is already in a tight situation due to the peak season.

Trucking services at origin will also experience high demands, so naturally, prices for trucking will be higher than usual.

Immediately after the Golden Week, carriers will announce blank sailings in order to optimize their vessel utilization. Because factories will be closed during this week-long holiday, blank sailings are inevitable until operations resume their labor and new shipments can be booked.

How importers can prepare for Golden Weeks?

Either it is for the winter holiday or just to keep your inventory stocked, as an importer your main concern is for your cargo to arrive in time if you’re shipping via ocean. During the Chinese Golden Weeks, we recommend booking your shipments with at least 2 weeks of anticipation of the holidays, plan ahead, and work closely with your logistics provider to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Book 1 week prior to Golden Week if you’re shipping by air.
Book 2-3 weeks prior to Golden Week if you’re shipping by ocean
Share your forecast with your logistics partner as soon as you can.
Define which shipments are the most urgent and communicate them to your logistics partner.

Consider alternative options.

Services with longer transit are less keen to be overbooked, consider a slightly longer transit in order for your cargo to not be rolled.
An alternate port of discharge might be a good option (if your cargo is moving inland) as this will give you more sailing options to choose from.
Also, consider air shipments if you’re in a rush. Keep in mind that prices for air shipments are considerably higher compared to ocean shipments, especially during peak season where tight capacity has made the prices rise above the usual market.

Golden Week, known as National Day Golden Week, in 2021 will be celebrated from October 1st. to October 7. Factories will close for the extended holiday week, and operations will resume on Tuesday, October 8.

Wrapping up

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