Although this is one of the busiest times of the year for the shipping business, importers need to prepare themselves for a week of silence from their suppliers. For seven days starting on October first, the Chinese are on holiday and will not be working.
To celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic Of China, every year the Chinese have a national holiday – National Day. Chinese National Day is celebrated on October 1st annually and the week following that (from the 1st to the 7th) is the public holiday known as Golden Week. During this time, Chinese families often go on holiday and travel around China. In 2015, 750 million people traveled during this period and over 4 million people decided to travel overseas.
This means that for an entire week you will not be in contact with your supplier – but don’t panic! This is completely normal.
Chinese National Day is October 1st; suppliers won’t be at work for a week, so prepare in advance! (And wish yours a happy holiday!)🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/cS1JTTGWAV
— Shippo (@Shippo_uk) 19 September 2017
With almost all businesses closed, it’s not just difficult for people to get information and updates on their shipments – it’s also difficult for people to get quotes and information about new ones. Even worse, due to the massive impact this week-long holiday has on importers, everyone scrambles to get their products made and shipped in time – which essentially creates a traffic jam. Huge backlogs of orders and freight end up collating just before and after the holiday. This leaves importers struggling for space and forced to pay premium rates.
To make sure that vessels aren’t sailing under-capacity, fewer shipments are typically scheduled during Golden Week and some carriers even shut down part of their shipping lines. Factories are slowed, cargo flights are cancelled and the ports are running on skeleton crews. Not much comes in and not much comes out.
So what can you do?
- Mark this date! This is an annual holiday and it falls on the same date every year, so if you’ve been burnt this time – make sure you aren’t again. It can be useful to have a calendar where all the important shipping dates are marked so when situations like this arise you aren’t caught unaware.
- Wish your supplier a happy holiday! Your suppliers are people too – and they’re very important people to your business. It’s important to make sure they feel respected and, especially in Chinese custom, having a good relationship with people you do business with is essential. Make sure to wish them a happy holiday to show that you appreciate them as people and not just as services.
- Damage control. If you think this is going to mess with your schedule and you’re worried key shipments might not make it on time, it might be time for some damage control. Make sure to keep your customers in the loop and fully informed on what they should expect.
The week long interruption of one of the busiest times for the shipping trade is naturally going to have a knock on effect. How will this holiday affect Shippo importers?
- Possible delays on shipments. The only issue you should face are delays; hopefully, we’ve managed to help you avoid this Chinese holiday hold-up, but if you were too late to the importing party you may face delays.
If you think this could effect you, feel free to contact us and ask!