The Year of the Ox
While Chinese New Year (CNY) traditionally causes annual disruptions to supply chain logistics that can be anticipated, this year may have some unexpected challenges for importers and exporters. February 12, 2021 marks the start of the Year of the Ox on the Chinese zodiac calendar, but preparations for the holiday begin well before and last well after that date. Officially, the public holiday includes seven days off for workers, though the celebrating can continue for more than two weeks. All work, including manufacturing and shipping, in mainland China (as well as other countries celebrating the holiday, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and others) essentially shuts down during this period.
How is 2021 Shipping Different?
For those who have experienced these disruptions in years past, it is important to note some things that make CNY 2021 unique:
- This year’s holiday falls 18 days later than it did in 2020.
- COVID-19 produced unexpected challenges across the supply chain that continue today.
- Logistics challenges with ocean freight experienced over the last few months are expected to continue throughout Chinese New Year and beyond.
- The ongoing congestion crisis at U.S ports and terminals has contributed to an imbalance of equipment (full containers on over 25 ships per day are “at anchor” or waiting to berth/unload in the Los Angeles/Long Beach terminal).
- Offloading delays are causing further disruptions to ships returning to Asia postponing departures by about seven days.
Booking demand continues to skyrocket, pushing rates to unprecedented levels.
How to Be Prepared for this new year:
- Consider using other manufacturing locations that do not observe the holiday as fully as China.
- Maintain open and clear communications with your supplier who may be able to help you recognize and plan for expected disruptions experienced in years past.
- Keep a close eye on quality control. CNY is seen by employees as a prime time to switch jobs. This can result in a turnover of workforce at manufacturing plants where new workers lack the training and experience of the pre-holiday workers. Extra care should be taken in reviewing goods manufactured after CNY.
What to Expect:
Due to continued high demand and lack of available equipment, we expect to see the challenges of equipment shortages, delays, and premium rate surcharges, to continue well after the Chinese New Year Holiday as businesses and factories return to work. Industry experts predict this trend will continue well into the first half of 2021.
How We Can Help:
The Chinese Zodiac Ox represents great emotional strength, exceptional stamina, and a superior work ethic. At Juno, we share these qualities every day. Count on our loyal, hardworking team members to answer questions and help you find the best solution to move your cargo as safely and efficiently as possible. Let us know the challenges you face and allow us to customize a solution that works best for you and your business. Contact us to connect with a solution provider today.