Did it sneak up on you again? Much like that dreaded diet you keep saying you will start next week. While 2018 may already be flying by, the most important holiday season in China is just around the corner, the Chinese New Year. So how does this annual celebration affect the shipping industry?

In general, China (aka the world’s factory) will shut down for roughly 15 days in celebration of the Chinese New Year. This includes not only the factory that makes your goods, but also your suppliers, agents and partners. Leaving you in the dust so to speak if you’re not prepared.

Let’s not point the finger at China for being the sole perpetrator of our logistical pain. Issues also arise from the strategic steamship line maneuvers. It’s becoming more evident that carriers are strategizing together to gain a profit. In essence, profits are low and carriers are desperate to keep their head above water. Expect carriers to pull vessels out of rotation in order to restrict demand and drive up prices making last minute space virtually impossible along with delayed transit times.

So what can you do to make sure your prices remain stable and your delivery delays are minimal?

Start by planning ahead. The 2018 Chinese New Year kicks off February 16 and lasts through March 2. If possible, coordinate your international shipments and manufacturing schedule around these dates and don’t be afraid to leverage shipment volume and carrier relationships for better prices and delivery times. At AFS, we speak the language of logistics. When shipping across the world you need someone with the knowledge and experience necessary to lower your shipping costs and maintain profit margins. Contact one of our International Experts at 877-242-3383 or visit https://www.afs.net/international/ to learn more about how we can provide a partnership that not only lowers your costs, but also streamlines your global supply chain.