Inland shipping and Chinese New Year: What Can We Expect?

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Inland shipping and Chinese New Year: What Can We Expect?

13 January 2022

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, but the pandemic and its impact on transport are not yet out of the world. What impact will Chinese New Year combined with Corona have on container transport in Dutch inland shipping?

It has been 2 years since the first Corona deaths in China became known. For most Dutch consumers, however, the crisis did not start until after Dutch Carnival or after returning from Winter Sports in 2020.

However, for the logistics sector, the impact of the virus was already felt from Chinese New Year, at the end of January. Indeed, China went into a weeks-long total lockdown, halting production and logistics. The global impact is still felt today, including in inland navigation.

As a result, most global and also Dutch supply chains are still overstretched due to high demand for products and, on the other hand, shortages of the right equipment in the right places.


When is Chinese New Year?

This year’s Chinese New Year begins on February 1, 2022, and may last until February 15 due to the extensive festivities. Normally, Chinese factories, ports and government institutions are almost completely closed, negatively impacting the available transport capacity in the country.

However, with the new expected lockdowns in China, the impact of Chinese New Year is expected to be even more extreme than before!

According to Nieuwsblad Transport new corona cases were already detected in the Chinese port cities of Ningbo, Tianjin and Shenzen in recent weeks. Last year, such small corona outbreaks already resulted in a logistical infarction.

Currently, the global supply chain is still being kept moving as port terminals continue to operate, but some depots have already closed, said Maersk. It is also expected that truck traffic to and from the port terminals could start to be limited.

In addition, China has a zero-tolerance approach to corona in which the measures taken vary from port to port. In addition, they are often announced only at short notice which makes anticipating ahead difficult. So it is important to keep an eye on transport news websites both nationally and internationally.


What Can We Expect for Inland Navigation?

Besides a good relationship with your suppliers in China, clear communication in this and about the situation of the ports there, good planning is important. Of course, it is always important to factor Chinese New Year into the planning in good time and have an inventory management for a longer period so that unexpected scenarios can be better anticipated.

Indeed, it is expected that due to the logistical turmoil, ocean-going vessels and, as a result, barges will come in out-of-schedule. We therefore recommend combining different cargo flows and booking via barge.

In addition, it is important to properly monitor the entry or exit of deep sea vessels. In the above ways, demurrage and detention may be prevented. Better for the environment and the wallet. Of course, Container Terminal Doesburg can support this.

Furthermore, we hope that instead of the regular break during Chinese New Year, shipping companies might take advantage of the break to bring back some of the containers still in China.

One thing is for sure, with an overloaded supply chain, we face a bigger challenge, but we try to keep container transport via inland waterways working. Be sure to contact our forwarding agents to keep up to date with the latest news.

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