Chinese New Year Holidays and the Situation in Europe
Attention: Shipping Manager
Chinese New Year Public Holidays:
Chinese Lunar New Year Public Holidays are from 11th to 17th February 2021 but factories are generally closed for a longer duration than the official holidays. The duration of closure will be around 1st February to 21st February and the peak season, which is generally 4 to 6 weeks prior to lunar holidays, will start from 16th December till end of January. The rates will likely go up during this time.
Based on the space and equipment situation from China at the moment, it is expected that there will be a further shortage of equipment availability and space during end of December and the entire month of January. It is suggested to prebook your upcoming shipments as soon as you are sure on the ready dates.
Additionally, there is a severe shortage of empty containers in smaller ports (Shunde, Foshan, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Shantou etc.) which are serviced by major ports of Shekou and Yantian in Southern China through feeder vessels. There are also reports of some early feeder vessel suspensions this year. Last sailings from these ports on feeder vessels will be around 15th to 20th January if feeders are still operating by that time and there is space available, after which the movements will only be from main ports till Chinese New Year. We might have to consider trucking option from factories to the main ports of Shekou and Yantian to mitigate the effects of feeder suspension/equipment unavailability.
Furthermore, inland transportation throughout China will experience a lot of irregularity from early January in terms of trucker availability and cost fluctuations. As we move closer to the Chinese New Year, availability of truckers will decrease even further.
Lastly, carriers have also started charging Cancellation fees on bookings which are cancelled after space is released and have extended their notice windows for which this cancellation fees applies.
We request you to plan your shipments well in advance keeping the above situation in mind.
Current Situation in UK:
As advised in our previous notices, the situation at UK ports has deteriorated further. Some shipping lines are now charging port congestion surcharges at UK ports just like they introduced it in Australia and New Zealand. The likelihood of getting space from UK has decreased substantially for the remainder of this year.
Most of the carriers have omitted UK ports on various different services which has resulted in a huge pile of containers at UK ports. Clearing the backlog itself is taking a lot of time and most carriers have put an immediate stop on all new bookings to clear the backlog and accommodate firm bookings which they already have in place. Despite this, there is very limited space which is still being released by some carriers and they are charging exorbitant amounts for that. Most bookings will now be for sailings in January 2021 and the carriers are likely to increase their rates further.
Please keep the above in mind while planning for any future shipments you might have out of UK.
Equipment Shortage Germany/Central Europe:
We have received reports of equipment shortage in some container depots in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Czech Republic. The situation is likely to stay as it is over the next few weeks. One carrier has stopped taking all export 40’ reefer bookings from the above locations until the end of this year. The same carrier has also halted 40’ GP booking from their Hamburg Depots in order to address the equipment shortage issues. They are still accepting 40’ HC bookings from these affected areas but if the situation doesn’t improve, this might change.
We will keep you updated with further developments.