Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2018 is getting closer, and recently I have received lots of emails by customers. They are wondering how their orders will be produced and shipped during this period, as needing to avoid any delay brought by CNY.
By searching in Google, I didn’t find any detailed suggestions about how to avoid the producing and shipping delay caused by CNY, and most of them are telling you to produce and ship earlier, without any specific date or deadline.
In this article, I will introduce the complete 2018 CNY schedule for factories, trading companies and forwarders, and also 7 tips to avoid producing or shipping delay. All this information will be very helpful for small importers.
Although Chinese New Year is based on lunar calendar, but the schedule and tips will work for CNY of any year.
1. Prepare Your Order 30-45 Days before CNY
If the producing time of your order is usually more than 15 days, you’d better arrange the production of this last order 30-45 before CNY. Because all the factories will be closed around 10 days before CNY, much earlier than statutory holiday date. The main reason is all the worker hope to go back to their hometown for celebrating the biggest festival of the year.
In China, most factories are gathering in the east coastal provinces, while most workers are from middle and west areas. These workers will go back to hometown annually during the CNY holiday, for reuniting with all the family numbers and celebrating festival. And the transportation during this period is called “Chunyun” (春运). Learn more: Lunar New Year Ushers in Greatest Human Migration
For example, statutory holiday of 2016’s CNY is from Feb. 8th to 14th, 2016, but most factories will be closed in the end of Jan. 2016, some even earlier at the middle of Jan because of poor business.
No matter you are dealing with a trading company or a factory, you need to ask the manufacture’s holiday schedule 30-45 days before CNY, then arrange your order accordingly.
Another situation is that some factories are super busy in the last month before CNY. Because they have lots of customers, and all of them want products shipped out before CNY holiday. So in this case, you may have to prepare your order 30-45 days in advance.
2. Small Quantity Importers Don’t Be Too Worry about CNY
If you only import small quantity products from China (or you are doing small business), and your orders need less than 7 days for producing, then I can tell you that CNY won’t influence your business much. You only need to know supplier’s and forwarder’s holiday schedule 15-20 days before CNY.
In this circumstance, your products should be spot goods, or produced by small factories, which will be closed later before CNY. The supplier you are dealing is probably trading company which will stop working 1-3 days before CNY.
If you are buying spot goods, then you may have this problem: some of the styles or items are stock out. But your supplier won’t replenish them until when back to work after CNY holiday, even now it’s half a month ahead of CNY.
If you are purchasing from DHgate/Aliexpress, you should pay most attention to when do international express agency stop working, and normally they will stop 2-4 days before CNY. The deadline of placing orders on DHgate/Aliexpress is 3-5 days before CNY. You need to confirm that whether the supplier can ship your goods out before the holiday before placing order. Also the holiday periods are not the same in different expresses, so does the express agencies.
3. Watch out the Latest Time for Shipping Your Cargo
If your cargo is shipped by FCL/LCL, you can keep in mind that the deadline of loading container is 3-4 days before CNY.
However, to avoid some unexpected condition, you’d better load your container little bit earlier. Imagine your cargo has been loaded during the deadline period, then running into custom inspection by China’s custom. This means your cargo will be delayed in the port, only can be shipped out after CNY holiday. The worse thing is you have to pay USD 300-400 for demurrage charge.
1 week ahead of CNY is the busy time for forwarders, as all the importers are eager to ship goods out before CNY. So the shipping fee is higher than usual. The forwarders will be back to work around 1 week after CNY, and their first working week is super busy as well. Because they have to ship out the cargoes which have been detained in China during CNY holiday.
After this busy week, it comes the export’s slack season, which will continue until April. And the shipping fee is lowest in this period.
4. Should Prepare Next Order before CNY?
Some suppliers may suggest you to place your next order (the one you want to place after CNY) before CNY holiday. The reason is that the price will be increased after holiday; but if you place your order in advance, the price will maintain the same, also will arrange your order in the first time when they back to work after holiday.
But I suggest NOT to listen to them if they are not your long-term suppliers. It’s better to place the order after CNY. It means you need to pay the deposit in advance if you place it before CNY. Also most suppliers normally won’t increase the price after the holiday, and maybe you will find other better suppliers at that time.
5. What You Can Do During CNY Holiday?
From 4 days ahead of statutory holiday of CNY to 4 days after it, totally it’s around 16 days. Probably you are not able to contact your suppliers during this period, no matter through phone calls, Skype, or email. But you will get replied when they are back to work after CNY.
These are all very normal, doesn’t mean that they are not reliable.
During this period, you can do nothing that related to China. So you’d better to focus on business in your country.
6. When Will Everyone Go Back to Work after CNY?
Although CNY’s statutory holiday is only 8 days, as I mentioned before, most trading companies and shipping forwarders won’t back to work until 1-4 days after the holiday. This is due to factory’s late reopen date, trading companies cannot arrange the production if their factory suppliers are still on holiday
Most Chinese factories will be back to work 5-10 days after statutory holiday. Because most of the worker are from another cities, some even very far from where they works. So they are not willing to back to the factory too early.
Another situation is that some workers are not coming back to factory after holiday, so the factory has to recruit new staffs after holiday.
So everyone will go back to work 5-10 days after CNY’s statutory holiday, and everything will be normal at that time.
7. Price Changes Is Normal after CNY
Chinese New Year affects not only production and shipping, but you may also find the price of your product is higher than before after CNY holiday, it’s quite normal.
The increase of the price may due to the increased production cost, like labor and material cost. Even this increase happens before the holiday, but factories would like to change the price after CNY. Because Chinese people usually take CNY as a brand new start.
However, price is also possible to decrease after CNY. So if you want to place new order after the holiday, the first thing to do is to confirm the price with your suppliers.