Expect Shipping Delays from China During the Holiday Season
The Lunar New Year is an important holiday that takes place annually in many countries and regions, including China. This celebration marks the beginning of the Chinese calendar and is typically associated with large-scale festivities such as family reunions, temple visits, and fireworks displays. This article provides an overview of how the holiday creates a supply chain delay for small businesses, Amazon sellers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and anyone responsible for shipping goods to or from China. We also offer strategies businesses can use to minimize shipping delays from China during the Lunar New Year.
Why Does Lunar New Year Create a Supply Chain Delay?
The Lunar New Year is a traditional Chinese celebration typically celebrated over 15 days, beginning with the first lunar month of the year and ending on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Many businesses close or reduce their operations during this time due to the holiday, and many employees take extended vacations to visit family. As a result, this extended holiday period can lead to supply chain disruptions and shipment delays, both domestically and internationally.
Small businesses, Amazon sellers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that rely on shipping goods to or from China are particularly vulnerable to the supply chain delay caused by Lunar New Year closures. The holiday can lead to labor shortages, increased transportation costs, and disruption in communication with suppliers and third-party logistics providers. For these reasons, these companies need to have a strategy in place to prepare for shipping delays from China during the Lunar New Year.
Why Shipping Delays from China are Serious Business
The United States is one of China’s largest trading partners. US imports from China totaled $539 billion in 2019 alone, accounting for more than 20 percent of US imports from all countries combined. This trade is essential for small businesses and manufacturers in both countries who rely on imported goods for their operations.
The Lunar New Year creates a supply chain delay that significantly impacts US-China trade due to its long duration and the fact that many businesses are closed or have reduced their operations during this period. This disruption leads to labor shortages or transportation delays which can cause delays in sending or receiving overseas shipments.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated supply chain issues between the US and China. The pandemic continues to cause factory closures in China and workforce shortages due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. These factors have led to higher shipping costs and longer lead times for goods shipped between the two countries.
Strategies to Minimize the Impact of a Supply Chain Delay
Small businesses, Amazon sellers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers need to plan ahead to minimize potential supply chain delays during the Lunar New Year. The following steps can help businesses prepare for potential shipping delays from China:
- Speak with your business contacts in China to understand their local customs and holidays to anticipate potential disruptions well before the holiday season.
- Maintain communication with suppliers and third-party logistics providers in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Communication can help ensure the timely delivery of goods and minimize potential delays due to language barriers or time zone differences.
- Account for potential labor shortages or transportation delays and develop a plan for temporary staffing and transport options.
- Schedule shipments in advance to allow for extra time for processing and delivery.
- Anticipate and budget for higher shipping costs due to peak season demand.
How 3PL Partners Can Help Prevent a Supply Chain Delay
Third-party logistics partners (also known as 3PL) can help to reduce the negative impacts of shipping delays from China. Working with an experienced 3PL can help businesses manage their global shipping needs more effectively during periods such as the Lunar New Year. A reputable 3PL will know local customs, regulations, taxes, and duties, which can help minimize potential disruptions or delays in shipments. It is also essential for businesses to communicate proactively with their 3PL to stay informed about potential supply chain delays and disruptions that may occur due to the holiday.
Optimizing Delivery Routes and Incorporating Technology Reduces Shipping Delays from China
Another benefit of businesses partnering with an experienced 3PL is the access to more efficient and cost-effective delivery routes when shipping goods domestically or internationally during the Lunar New Year holiday. To reduce a supply chain delay, a combination of air, ground transportation, and ocean shipping methods can minimize overall transit time and cost while ensuring timely deliveries.
Leveraging technology that provides end-to-end visibility of the supply chain process allows businesses and 3PL to better anticipate potential disruptions or delays due to factors such as the Lunar New Year holiday. Data analytics can be used to identify patterns that help predict when disruptions occur so that companies can take steps to mitigate their impacts on operations. Automating certain aspects of the supply chain process can also help reduce manual errors and reliance on human labor while improving overall efficiency.
Don’t Let a Supply Chain Delay Derail Your Business!
Any business that relies on shipping goods to or from China needs to be proactive in planning for a possible supply chain delay during the Lunar New Year holiday. Establishing a communication plan with your contacts in China is an excellent first step, and partnering with an experienced 3PL can provide an additional layer of protection.
PartnerTrade: A Trusted 3PL Partner
PartnerTrade is a US logistics consulting company providing services and solutions for Amazon sellers and B2B enterprises. PartnerTrade is committed to serving businesses of all sizes by transporting and storing goods.
Our worldwide network allows us to ship to any port, including Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Hamburg, and Shenzhen. Connect with us today to worry less about the negative impacts of shipping delays from China.