With regard to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, which will start on January 22, 2023, customers of a. hartrodt should now act fast and smart like the little mammal. Because in China, the New Year vacation starts earlier than usual: "The vacation period will last from January 1 to 27 for some factories," says Fan Luo, Managing Director South China at a. hartrodt. He expects some factories to close for one month starting at the end of December 2022. "European customers don't necessarily have this in mind," knows Peter Zink, Business Development Manager Middle East and Greater China at a. hartrodt in Frankfurt. Last-minute orders should arrive before Christmas.
China's export business is in decline
"In the past two years, many factories continued to produce during the vacation to cushion Covid effects," Fan Luo reports. According to him, the upcoming long New Year break is also related to less overseas orders: "Export business is decreasing compared to previous years." According to the General Administration of Customs, China’s export volume in October 2022 was 7.5 percent lower than in October 2021.
Air freight or rail transportation as alternative to ocean freight
According to Fan Luo, China's ports are operating smoothly. He estimates the average berth-waiting time for Shanghai at one day maximum, for Shenzhen (Yantian) at up to two days and for Ningbo at no more than one and a half days. Peter Zink assumes that carriers will again cancel departures at short notice during Chinese New Year. The number of these so-called "blank sailings" can only be estimated in three to four weeks. "This could have a negative impact on ocean freight customers," he says. As a "good and fast alternative", a. hartrodt offers air freight as well as rail transportation via the Middle Corridor and the northern route.
Even though Peter Zink describes the transport situation around Chinese New Year this time as "relaxed" because many clients have full stocks in Europe, he warns against a rude awakening. "Customers should be aware of the special situation and handle it sensitively," he advises.