Shipping during the holiday season is stressful for many importers, however, you can rest easy if you are well informed:
Step 1: Plan Ahead
- Book air shipments at least 5 days in advance of cargo ready date.
- Book ocean shipments at least 4-5 weeks in advance of cargo ready date.
Step 2: Prepare for extra fees
- This is peak season for both air and ocean freight and rates will normally reflect this.
- Congested ports/warehouses may mean longer wait times for truckers, who may assess waiting time fees.
- In the U.S., some ports and rail ramps may experience chassis shortages, which can result in chassis split charges.
Step 3: Be flexible
- Consider choosing a service with a slightly longer transit time. Most times, the faster transit options will be overbooked and your container could be rolled. By choosing an option with slightly longer transit, you may be able to get space and as a result, receive your shipment faster.
Step 4: After holiday lull
- After holiday periods such as Golden Week and Chinese New Year, many of the steamship lines implement “blank” sailings, which means that they cancel a sailing, where either a port is skipped or the entire string is cancelled. This is due to demand for space on vessels plummeting after the holiday rush. Remember that it could take a week or so before carriers’ schedules return back to normal, so plan accordingly.
For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.