A perfect storm of disruption is swirling on the trans-Pacific as preparations for both Lunar New Year and the Beijing Olympics meet the problems caused by repeated COVID flare-ups in Asia. The congestion that plagues logistics will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the travel and transportation needs tied to an event as large as the Beijing Olympics which start on February 4th. Coupled with COVID issues in Ningbo that have shippers trying to divert cargo away from delays in Shanghai, we at RS Express are working hard to make plans for shippers that mitigate or skirt the expected delays.
Lunar New Year is one of, if not the biggest, holidays in the world; a seven-day public holiday in which millions of people travel to and around Asia to celebrate with families and friends. While this holiday isn’t specific to China or Chinese people, the term Chinese New Year is still a common title for a celebration that occurs in nations around the world. For the last three years, the celebration has been upended by pandemic regulations and this year should be more of the same.
Pandemic issues in Ningbo are expected to further obstruct shipments since workers are reduced to prevent the spread and maintain social distancing regulations in hot spots. RS Express is urging our clients to plan ahead for the season and remain flexible as we prepare for the holiday and move through the Olympics – which will assuredly require extensive logistical planning and resources in a nation where drivers and laborers are already stretched thin.
Capacity issues are expected to hit rates throughout the first quarter as retailers look to replace inventory after the Christmas holiday shopping season. While ocean cargo has seen a volatile rate increase, even trucking, local delivery, and air cargo will be impacted by the crushing amount of traffic set for the trans-Pacific so planning in advance is required to ensure consistency.
Transparency and open, continuous lines of communication will give a solid foundation to prepare to mitigate the delays on the horizon. Involving us at the time purchase orders are placed with an anticipated ship date lets us begin having conversations for space, equipment, routing and rates. We’re in constant contact with our agents and partners to coordinate ahead of time and research all available options, knowing how fungible conditions are and have been for the past two years. It is our persistent goal to provide tailored solutions that take into account the unprecedented times in which we find ourselves. We appreciate the closeness with which we work with everyone a little more each day through the pandemic, and this upcoming period with multiple impactful events on the calendar is no exception.