Do you import goods from China? Find out how Chinese New Year 2019 could affect your supply chain
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important of the holidays for the Chinese and is the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Chinese New Year 2019 – The Year of the Pig
Each year relates to a Chinese zodiac animal according to the 12-year cycle. 2019 is the year of the Pig, which occupies the twelfth position in the Chinese zodiac. If you’re born in a Pig year, you might want to look out for the following as they’re considered lucky for you:
- Numbers – 2, 5, 8
- Colours – Yellow, Grey, Brown
- Flowers – Hydrangea, Pitcher plant, Marguerite
As one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals, Chinese New Year involves the largest annual mass human migration in the world as families travel to celebrate the New Year together. As a result, businesses who trade with China can expect an impact on their supply chain as companies in China close down to join in with the celebrations.
When is Chinese New Year 2019?
Although the official public holiday is from February 4th to February 10th, the Chinese New Year of 2019 falls on Tuesday 5th February and ends on February 19th.
How will Chinese New Year affect importing?
It’s no surprise that production stalls when suppliers and factories close for Chinese New Year, however, supply chain disruption is also likely to occur before and after the national holiday. Here’s what you can expect:
Production delays – so order early
Don’t be alarmed if you can’t contact your suppliers during Chinese New Year as many companies give their employees time off to travel home beforehand. This means:
- Up to two weeks before Chinese New Year, most factories in China will halt production
- During Chinese New Year no new orders will be accepted as suppliers, and factories close to partake in the celebrations
- Production may not start again for up two weeks after Chinese New Year.
So with up to 4 weeks of possible disruption, what can you do to avoid problems? Place your orders earlier than usual to allow for the delays. Ideally, you’ll want to be getting your orders in 3 to 4 weeks before Chinese New Year. So for 2019, aim to have your orders in no later than the 5th January; however, we would recommend getting them in before Christmas to be on the safe side.
Staff shortages – so be mindful of quality
The majority of the workforce will take an extended break for Chinese New Year so factories won’t be operating at full capacity straight away as staff will return to work at different times. Unfortunately, some employees don’t return to work at all which means suppliers then have to recruit and train new staff, all at a time when there are already order backlogs.
While staffing issues can cause delays, it’s important to remember that quality could be overlooked when suppliers are under pressure to fulfil orders. Be extra cautious when it comes to checking the quality of your products, and budget for a few products not quite hitting in the mark so if you do receive any defective products they don’t eat into your profit margin.
Shipping delays – so plan ahead
As production slows down during Chinese New Year, sea freight carriers usually reduce capacity with blank sailings and port omissions; therefore space on vessels can become tight. It can also be difficult to source local transport as drivers take time off and travel home in time for the celebrations.
To avoid problems;
- Get sea freight consignments to their port of origin by the beginning of January
- For air freight, remember that flights will be busy and therefore more expensive so the earlier you book, the better.
To assist in your planning and to help ensure your business isn’t negatively impacted, make sure you coordinate with your suppliers and your freight forwarder.
Who to contact during Chinese New Year?
John Good Shipping’s offices in China will be closed during Chinese New Year, however, our UK offices will be open as usual and will be available to answer our customers’ questions during this time.
When is Chinese New Year in 2020 and 2021?
Here’s a quick reminder of the Chinese New Year dates for the next three years so you can mark them on your calendar.
2019: Tuesday 5th February – Year of the Pig
2020: Saturday 25th January – Year of the Rat
2021: Friday 12th February – Year of the Ox