The port of Yantian, Shenzhen port’s busiest terminal on the eastern side, is the preferred port of call for mega-ships in South China; more than 30 major shipping lines conduct 100 weekly runs in Yantian port. Many beginners ignore peak and off-peak seasons when importing from China to the UK, which is disastrous because the time of year matters a lot, especially when importing through the busy port of Yantian. That’s why we have compiled this guide to give you a few tips on importing from Yantian to the UK during peak seasons, specifically:

  • Peak season dates in China,
  • Peak season dates in the UK,
  • How to import during peak season.

Peak Seasons in China

Peak season occurs every year from August to October. However, the busy seasons could be longer or shorter depending on market conditions. In China, peak season occurs in January and February in anticipation of the Chinese New Year. Most companies and manufacturers in China close for a week or longer during the Chinese New Year. Many importers schedule shipments ahead of time to avoid delayed shipments, creating a capacity crisis.

Other major Chinese holidays that affect shipping are the:

  • Qingming Festival,
  • May Day, celebrated from May 1st until May 5th,
  • The Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place from June 25 to 27,
  • Mid-Autumn Day, which begins on October 1 and lasts for a week, and
    National Day on October 1–8.

Other holidays are Women’s Day, Youth Day, Children’s Day, and Army Day, but these are less disruptive half-day holidays. Still, half-day holidays significantly influence manufacturing and inland transportation in China. Therefore, if you are importing goods during these holidays, it’s best to plan ahead of time.

Peak Seasons in the UK

Peak shipping season in the UK begins in October, and demand for freight continues up to the new year. Here are the essential holidays to consider when importing into the UK.

  • Halloween, which is celebrated on October 31, and comes with high demand for Halloween products
  • Thanksgiving (November 25) kicks off the Christmas shopping season and lasts for a week. It includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, when
  • Christmas buyers are on the hunt for great discounts on holiday gifts.

Other important dates are:

  • Free Shipping Day on December 14, and
  • Super Saturday on the 17th of December.

Tips for Importing During Peak Season

The first thing to do is to prepare ahead of time. You can book at least 6-7 days early of the Cargo Ready Date (CRD) when shipping by air. For ocean FCL shipping, book 3-4 weeks in advance of the CRD.

If you are shipping LCL, remember that LCL shipments take 7-10 days longer than FCL shipments. For FCL, avoid shipping 45′ HC containers if you can help it; your container is more likely to get rolled at Yantian port. Also, keep in mind that ports and warehouses will have their hands full, so loading and unloading will take longer.

Whenever possible, book 2-4 TEU (1-2 x 40’s) per bill of lading (BoL). Containers get rolled by their BoL, and if you book too many containers under a single BoL (for example, 10 x 40′), and the BoL gets rolled, you’ll suffer a greater impact.

Secondly, sea and air freight charges soar, so be prepared to pay more. Inland transport costs also rise due to trucking wait fees. Chassis shortages also occur at some ports and rail ramps, resulting in split charges.

Thirdly, plan so that you can choose slower shipping over fast shipping. During the holiday shopping season, businesses are eager to get their products from Yantian to the UK as soon as possible. Many opt for shipping with the shortest transit times, leaving those with somewhat longer transit times prime for the taking.

If you can plan ahead, opt for shipping with longer transit times (and lower demand) as they are less likely to roll your goods. Most times, the difference between LCL and FCL is only a few days — a 15-day transit time vs a 20-day transit time.

Finally, working with a forwarder you can trust is vital during peak seasons. You don’t want to be chasing down an overburdened freight forwarder or who isn’t being honest with you on potential delays. It’s critical to work with a company with a track record of completing deliveries on time during peak seasons. Examine their shipping methods and develop a relationship with them before the busy season so you know what to expect.

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At Barrington, we are delighted to be experts in speedy, cost-effective freight to the UK and around the globe. Retailers, manufacturers, exporters, and individuals trust us to perform efficient next-day deliveries to the UK and across Europe. For reliable freight services from Yantian to the UK during peak season, visit us at the Bowden terminal in Basildon, Essex, or contact us for a friendly quote!