The 2021 Chinese Golden Week is expected to commence from the 1st October until the 7th October, and this means a China slow down as people take a vacation, with many people going early and/or returning later. The pre-Golden week rush has started early, with importers speeding up their production processes to ship their products out of China on time.This will add to the already existing constraints in ocean freight and land transportation, increase the chance for cargoes to be rolled and for deliveries to be postponed, so we expect the current unpredictability of vessel space and availability to continue throughout the 4th quarter.
There is a high probability of a 3 to 4 week delay from ‘factory load date’ to ‘final Vessel sailing date’ so we recommend you factor this in to your supply plan, and we strongly recommend planning your container bookings as soon as possible. If you are buying on a DDU or CFR basis, we would suggest you take these delays into consideration, and also suggest you look at changing to Ex-works or FOB using MFC so you are guaranteed to get real time and accurate shipping information.
As reported in the world news, the recent Chinese restrictions to control a spike in COVID infections has severely affected cargo operations at several seaports & airports and reduced crew availability, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of flights and creating long backlogs of container vessels trying to offload cargo at the main China Ports, all of this as the peak shipping season approaches.
History tells us that blank sailings close to the Golden week are a traditional practice to make up for lower demands during the winter months; this year, the expectation from cargo owners is that the shipping lines will maintain the deployment of the entire fleet along transpacific routes after the pandemic, owing to the strong demand and elevated rates of freight transportation. We remain optimistic this will happen and that container rates from China will likely increase further through this peak season period.