How to Avoid Lunar New Year Shipping Delays in 2023
Lunar New Year 2023, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is right around the corner. The holiday means limited operations, labor shortages, and delayed shipping for importers and exporters. But you can avoid the holiday rush and supply chain disruptions.
Keep reading to learn about:
- The effects of the Lunar New Year on shipping
- How long does the Lunar New Year affect shipping
- How to prepare your shipments for any Lunar New Year shipping delays
When is Lunar New Year in 2023?
In China, Lunar New Year is one of the most significant festivals of the year, marked by a two-week-long celebratory period. Like Golden Week, many people travel to visit their families.
The holiday typically begins in late January, with exact dates varying according to the lunar calendar. In 2023, Lunar New Year starts on Sunday, January 22nd, and lasts until Sunday, February 5th, when the Lantern Festival marks the end of the period.
Be aware that preparations for the holiday typically begin three weeks before the actual dates.
How long does the Lunar New Year affect shipping?
Here’s what the period of the Lunar New Year looks like in 2023:
Mid-December 2022: Production begins to slow down at factories
January 1-6, 2023: Factories stop manufacturing; peak export rush at major Chinese ports to ship out goods
January 6-21, 2023: Workers start to leave for the holidays; ports have limited operational capacity
January 22-27, 2023: Lunar New Year holiday week
February 6, 2023: Workers start returning to factories and ports*
* It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for operations to return to normal levels.
5 tips to avoid shipping delays during Lunar New Year 2023
- Work with multiple logistics partners.
- Working with multiple service providers can help reduce bottlenecks and increase your business’s operational efficiency. This is especially true during the holiday season when you might find that some providers are booked or delayed.
- Use multiple shipping modes.
- If you usually ship ocean freight, consider alternate modes such as air or rail if possible. Even better, use a combination of different modes. Shipping your freight in different ways helps move goods faster during peak season.
- Choose ports with less congestion.
- If your destination port faces holiday congestion, consider alternate ports with lower congestion or import volumes. A longer route may actually be faster during high-traffic seasons.
- Use different container types
- 20ft containers are the most commonly booked shipping containers. If possible, ship your goods with other containers such as 40ft, high cube, or side-door containers. These containers may offer lower rates than usual.
- Keep a “just-in-case” budget.
- Whenever you’re shipping, delays can happen, and this is especially true during the holiday season. Budget for additional freight costs to hit your inventory goals during these periods.
How to prepare your shipments for Lunar New Year
Understand your supply chain needs and get a clear picture of your shipping requirements and average transit times. Then, try to plan your shipments several weeks in advance of the New Year to prevent delays.
Use data to keep your inventory stocked. Review your past customer behavior and orders during the new year season. Use this data to predict how much inventory you need and try to stock up on what you need in advance.
Split your goods into multiple small shipments. If you need to ship a container’s worth of goods around the Lunar New Year, consider dividing your shipment into multiple deliveries instead using different LCL shipments with separate bills of lading. This minimizes the risks of shipping delays in case one of the containers or carriers is running late.