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How Will Golden Week Impact My Shipments?

Golden Week is a week-long national holiday in China, so Chinese factories will be closed. As importers rush to ship goods from China to the US before the holidays closures, capacity will be tight and prices will be high for both ocean freight and airfreight.

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When is Golden Week?

The National Day is held annually on October 1, to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It kicks off a 7-day Golden Week festival, including parades, ceremonies, and other displays.

Golden Week is usually celebrated from October 1-7 (sometimes the holiday will be longer to include “Mid-Autumn Festival”, which is based on the Lunar calendar). Factories will be closed for the holiday week, with operations resuming on the day after the holiday.

How will Golden Week impact my supply chain?

As we approach October 1, importers are rushing to finish production and make pre-Golden Week sailings. This will further constrain freight space (which is already very tight during peak season) and drive up prices for both ocean freight and airfreight. Carriers will be more overbooked than usual, which will likely result in cargo being rolled.

Trucking services will be in higher demand, so you may also see higher prices for trucking at origin.

We’ll also see blank sailings immediately after Golden Week -- because factories will be closed during the holiday, carriers will announce these blank sailings in order to optimize vessel utilization.

Golden Week is similar to Chinese New Year (CNY) in a sense that there is a rush from importers to speed up their productions and have products ship out from China before workers go home for the holidays and factories shut down or reduce their manufacturing capacity significantly. This usually creates a sudden surge of demand and space capacity becomes constrained with carriers looking for Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) on Named Accounts and implementing General Rate Increase (GRI) on FAK/Spot rates.

How should I prepare for Golden Week?

If you’re shipping via ocean freight and want your cargo to arrive in time for the winter holidays, please note that you will need to book your shipments prior to Golden Week:

  • For ocean shipments: Book 3-4 weeks prior to Golden Week.
  • For air shipments: Book 1 week prior to Golden Week.

In general, our peak-season shipping tips apply:

Plan ahead and work closely with your Flexport team.

  • Share your forecast with us as soon as you can.
  • Book shipments ahead of time, as explained above.
  • Let us know which shipments are the most urgent.
  • Consistent past performance matters, if the historical consistency is not present, carriers will be more reluctant to support on space during times of space capacity tightness.

Be flexible.

  • Consider a service with a slightly longer transit time. These services are less likely to be overbooked, which means that your cargo is less likely to roll.
  • If your cargo is moving inland, consider an alternate port of discharge--this will give you more options when choosing a sailing.
  • If your cargo is moving inland, please consider using the transload option after discharge at POD.
  • If you’re in a serious rush, there’s always airfreight—but keep in mind that it’s been a pricey season for airfreight, with high prices and tight capacity expected to continue.

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