Navigating Chinese New Year supply chain challenges

Navigating Chinese New Year supply chain challenges

11 December 2023

3PL Team

Anyone who works in or is associated with procurement and the supply chain will understand the impact that the Chinese New Year has on the movement of goods across the globe.

2024 sees the Year of the Dragon, commence on 10th February but, for a period of time prior to and after the celebration, Chinese communities wholeheartedly embrace the festivities taking extended breaks from the workplace and returning to family homes across the nation.

These extended holidays can pose some tricky challenges for those working in the supply chain however, those challenges are not insurmountable if the correct solution and delivery partner is chosen.

Perhaps the three most important things that need to be considered are:

  • Supply Chain forecasting is crucial
  • It can take while for normal service to resume after Chinese New Year has concluded
  • There may be a shortage of containers and vessels as the supply chain returns to normal

Planning ahead

One of the most significant things that businesses can do is plan ahead to compensate for the minimum 15-day close down of Chinese businesses.

With many of the world’s goods being manufactured in China, purchasing departments are aware of when they need to purchase goods to ensure they are on the water before the holiday commences.

This often means that work has been taking place several weeks ago to ensure product will arrive in the UK as required whether that is products for consumers or components vital to British manufacturing processes and factories.

However, it’s also important that businesses are prepared for circumstances out of their control and having a plan B is crucial to quick reaction times should unexpected challenges occur.

Finding additional support

Choosing a third-party provider to assist with these challenges is often the best way and most cost-effective way to ensure operations are not compromised.

Whether goods have arrived early, and assistance is needed in container destuffing and onward transport or storage, or whether additional support is needed to get delayed goods where they need to be in a timely manner, enlisting the help of a third-party logistics provider can be worth its weight in gold.

To ensure the right partner is chosen you should consider:

  • The capabilities they have. Do they have the correct facilities, in the correct location?
  • Is the team experienced and has the knowledge to deliver your requirements? Freight forwarding requires a very different skill set when compared with transport services, for example.
  • What space and infrastructure do they have? If you need vehicles, do they have access to an extensive fleet? If it’s specialised warehousing such as bonded or COMAH be sure to make sure they not only have the certification but also the space to support at the time when you need it.

Simon Gallimore, Commercial Director, Carlton Forest 3PL commented; “This seasonal occurrence is often overlooked by businesses who don’t fully grasp the impact this holiday has on global supply chains.

“Experience tells me that even those who prepare can be compromised by circumstances out of their control such as weather, port delays and manufacturing or shipping delays in China. This means that, as an industry, we must work together, offering space, support, and vehicles to ensure consumers and manufacturing chains are maintained so that further difficulties are not created.

“The team at Carlton Forest 3PL has decades of experience in dealing with all aspects of the transport, logistics and warehouse industry and can partner with businesses, onboarding customers often within a matter of days by providing tangible solutions to real-world, real-time problems.”

By recognising the operational adjustments that are required to alleviate the inevitable delays caused by Chinese New Year shutdowns, there is no reason why UK supply chains can’t operate almost as normal, especially if additional support is called upon as required.

To discuss any 3PL support contact our Commercial Director, Simon Gallimore –