The state holidays in China present (solvable) problems to suppliers, carriers and retailers
Experience shows that freight costs increase around Golden Week
Inexpensive storage solutions are one way to save freight costs
Golden Week, which is a work-free week in China, begins on China’s national holiday, October 1, and ends on October 7, 2020. The Chinese government introduced this week in order to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China and to boost domestic tourism. Every year, China witnesses a mass migration (which is likely to be smaller this year due to the Corona Pandemic): everyone who can will visit relatives or popular sightseeing destinations such as the Great Wall.
State Holidays, Production and Public Life
But for online retailers, bricks-and-mortar retailers and logisticians, Golden Week also means planning ahead. Anyone who orders goods in China or receives goods from China can cross out the period from 1 to 7 October from their calendar or, perhaps even better, mark the week in red. Because during this period, virtually nothing happens in China. Factories and offices are closed, except for an emergency workforce, public life (administration and co.) is paralysed, containers with goods are stowed in the ports, ships are not unloaded or loaded, shipowners reduce their capacities, and customs only works to a limited extent.
Planning is Everything Around Golden Week
Anyone ordering goods from China or waiting for goods should therefore plan ahead so that their items are ready in advance, or can be shipped or sent by air freight. This is because experience shows that the cost of transporting goods from China to Europe rises sharply around this time. Not only because many retailers have Golden Week on their calendars and want to have their goods shipped even earlier, but also because the goods will be stowed in the ports or at the airports during Golden Week, and Christmas business will begin almost seamlessly afterwards. This is a period when freight costs from China to Europe are generally higher, because all traders want their goods in the shops or their warehouses in time for the run on Christmas presents.
What does this mean for e-commerce merchants? On the one hand, you should think about Christmas now – in the middle of summer – and preferably start production already, even if it feels strange. On the other hand, it means planning the transport of seasonal goods (e.g. autumn fashion) as immediately as possible so that the goods arrive on time. All those who pay attention to every cent when transporting their goods (and who doesn’t?) should book their freight date and route as soon as possible, at a time when the costs are still manageable.
Preparation and Scheduling for Golden Week
Precise planning and implementation with reliable partners is essential to avoid being confronted with empty warehouses during the most important sales period of the year. Therefore, you should now consider the following steps:
- Are you planning to have articles produced in China for your Christmas business? Then you should talk to your suppliers now at the latest and ask them whether they can still finish the goods in August. If your articles are already in production, ask your manufacturer for the delivery date.
- For items that are shipped by sea freight, e-commerce merchants should book a date at least three (preferably four) weeks before the start of Golden Week. This means that the transport date and route should be fixed at the end of August/beginning of September.
- Air freight shipments should be booked at least one week before Golden Week. Here too, those who act earlier have the better choice, especially when it comes to conditions.
- In many cases, it is cheaper to find a temporary storage solution in Germany than to have to pay the high freight rates around Golden Week. Many logistics companies (including Forto) offer such solutions – also flexibly, if freight delays occur. Because in the period around Golden Week, so-called rollovers in sea freight can occur again and again. This means that goods are not loaded onto the intended ship, but are instead shipped („rolled“) onto one of the following ships due to lack of capacity.
One more thing: Your trading partners in China will be pleased if you wish them a wonderful Golden Week. No matter if by mail, phone or messenger: 快乐黄金周!
Do you want to know more about flexible freight and storage solutions before and after Golden Week? Talk to your Forto customer consultant or contact us here.