January 6, 2023
Lunar New Year, which is also commonly called Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, celebrates the beginning of the New Year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It is celebrated in many countries throughout Asia, for example in Vietnam, the holiday is called Tet, the full name is "Tet Nguyen Dan".
According to the Chinese lunar calendar 2023, Chinese New Year 2023 will fall on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023, celebrations continue until the Lantern Festival which will be on February 5th, 2023.
The legal holiday in China is usually seven days long but can differ from country to country. Generally, it starts from the Lunar New Year's Eve, otherwise known as Spring Festival Eve, to the sixth day of the first lunar month.
The holiday starts from Spring Festival Eve, so in 2023 it is from Jan. 21st to Jan.27th. In some cases, the holiday period may allow for extended time off for workers. The Lunar New Year dates change every year because the festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. We advise getting your shipments prepared and ready because many factories will shut down in China and other countries celebrating the lunar calendar.
The Chinese New Year holiday is a time for family reunions, a lot of people travel across China back to their hometowns to visit their parents and relatives. Thus a special phenomenon called Spring Festival Travel Rush or Spring Festival Migration arises before and after the Chinese New Year, every year so workers can spend time with family and friends who live further afield. In previous holidays in China, due to the COVID zero policy, less travel has happened to avoid the potential of COVID outbreaks.
China has adjusted its COVID prevention and control policies. The focus has shifted from infection prevention to severe case prevention. Starting from January 8th, the country has downgraded the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B. With this shift in rules, this year’s Spring Festival travel rush, which kicked off on Saturday January 7th is expected to surge 99.5% compared to the same period last year to reach nearly 2.1 billion.
In usual circumstances, many workers head to their home towns and quite often, factories release them from duties as early as the middle of January. In general, workers resume work after Lantern Festival. There are also some workers who decide to stay in the city where they work during the holiday, this enables factories to at least provide skeleton cover of work during the holiday season. Frequently, production sites will issue an office closure notice for Chinese New Year.
It is common for truck drivers to also return to their hometowns. Therefore, during the lunar new year period there is a lack of resources to pick up and deliver goods for export and import. Usually two weeks before the official holiday (this coming year, it begins on January 21st).
With ocean freight volumes decreasing over the past few months due to higher than usual inventory levels and less demand for goods, Chinese New Year will be a good indicator of how much replenishment is needed for stocks worldwide. Flattened demand is expected onwards in to 2023, therefore Chinese New Year factory shutdowns may not impact supply chains as significantly as they have done in previous pre-COVID years.
Ocean carriers have started to announce blank sailing plan for some vessel/voyages during the holiday (Week 4) and in the week right after the holiday (Week 5). We expect the schedule will gradually return to normal from Week 6..
As for the air market, it is still early to predict the flight options that will be available during the Spring Festival. Our past experience is that there will be less flights during the Lunar New Year holiday period, and customs officials will only be on duty for half a day, every day. For cargo that is not urgent, we do not recommend clients to export during the one-week holiday, as there are no customs officials available to conduct customs inspection. This means if any cargo is randomly picked for inspection, the shipment will be held at the airport until inspection is completed after the holiday period. Our experience tells us that most importers prefer not to import cargo just a few days before and during the holiday in order to avoid incurrence of unnecessary storage or detention fees caused by issues on customs formalities or just being unable to clear.
Manufacturing facilities particularly in China usually close their doors to allow employees to enjoy the festive period with their families, planning ahead can help you achieve maximum benefit to your air freight, ocean freight, and logistics schedule and cost. The shutdown is likely to cause delays.
Due to the reduced amount of employees on-site during the festive period, production times may need to be extended. You will need to allow for not just longer production times but also an increased amount of time to receive your quotations.
Production slows down and a backlog of orders is often the case, factories, in general, will process orders from their regular clients and will assign priorities to their most valued clients.
Planning ahead of the site closures is critical and Crane Worldwide Logistics has a number of logistics solutions available to you. If your products allow for a longer delivery lead time, we can always find the best price for you via our ocean freight services.
We have strong relationships with our air freight partners, if this is your preferred option. In addition, Crane Worldwide can offer a road freight service from China to Europe, a reliable trucking service can provide multiple benefits to your supply chain requirements.
With supply chain disruption continuing to create problems for many to move their goods from China into both Europe and the United States, we advise to plan early for the Chinese New Year holidays. International trade has been impacted around the world and lunar new year holidays can create significant delays to your inventory production.
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