This week China welcomes The Year of the Pig according to the Zodiac Calendar, marking a new year and the beginning of spring on the lunar calendar.
A time to visit family and enjoy the celebrations, Chinese New Year is big business for the retail industry – a staggering $137 billion was spent ringing in the Year of the Dog in 2018. For retailers, it’s crucial to make the most of the opportunity it offers for boosting sales.
Planning ahead is essential – while Chinese New Year is one of the most important events in the retail calendar, it’s also a period of significant disruption. Expert forward-planning is essential if retailers are to guarantee the availability of goods to meet demand, while maintaining the level of service and experience consumers expect.
Amidst what has been described as ‘the world’s biggest mass migration’, it’s no easy feat. People finish work days – often weeks – before the festivities begin, leaving the workforce severely depleted and resulting in inevitable delays and bottlenecks within the supply chain.
As such, it’s crucial that goods ship before factories close, preventing supply issues. Factories across China close for the duration of Chinese New Year without exception, so imported goods must ship well in advance of the celebrations.
However, this of course creates a spike in demand for air and sea services in the run up to the festivities, resulting in cargo space shortages and increases freight rates. To avoid falling victim to space limitations, importers must ship cargo weeks or even months in advance, incurring additional storage charges at the end destination.
Space protection is essential for long-term contracts, while accurate forecasting will ensure that the process is managed closely to avoid any errors.
Failing to plan-ahead for Chinese New Year could be costly.
Good logistics partners never underestimate the value of strong working relationships and collaboration with suppliers and shipping lines. Securing an experienced and reliable logistics partner is key to navigating the challenges around Chinese New Year, as well as taking advantage of the opportunities.
With the market set to soften after Chinese New Year, it’s the best time to negotiate before it once again strengthens ahead of the summer peak.
ASCG’s global freight division is dedicated to providing the most time-efficient and cost-effective solutions to our customers’ international transport requirements, with vast experience in air freight, sea freight and international road transport.
Our experienced team can help you make the most of opportunities to negotiate reduced rates once the festivities are over, while planning-ahead for a successful 2020.