The world has celebrated the 2023 New Year, and China is about to begin celebrating the Chinese New Year (CNY) or Lunar New Year. Excitement fills every street corner as businesses shut down, shops close and commerce comes to a complete stop.
Naturally, this has effects on the supply chain and every year businesses need to get ready for them or risk being caught by surprise.
A little earlier this year, the CNY begins on January 22nd and ends February 5th. China’s workforce will celebrate their New Year and the global supply chain will undoubtedly feel it.
Let’s dig into the specific functions of the supply chain and how exactly they will be impacted by this year's CNY celebrations.
Recent figures show that all trade lines have been experiencing shrinking market share. A peak season seems to have been missed as we approach CNY. Additionally, there has been significant rerouting through the Middle East from China to Europe.
Year over year, cargo capacity from China to Europe has seen a marked decline of about 44%.
Part of this massive decline came when Apple made changes to their iPhone 14 production process, shifting a large portion of the operation to India. There is an expectation that Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) will feel a deeper drop in freight volume and freight levels in the future.
Inland airports are connecting more international flights with international destinations such as Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), which added 18 new international flight routes.
Although it appears ocean spot rates are currently close to pre-pandemic levels in China, the SCFI is reporting an alarming 20.7% decrease in rates from Shanghai to Northern Europe after two weeks with a 16% decline.
Additionally, the SCFI has revealed fares between Shanghai and several other ports have dropped significantly:
- Shanghai and Melbourne (-20.3%)
- Shanghai and Dubai (-15.6%)
- Shanghai and Santos (-12.0%)
The NAC is offering rates that carriers are finding more attractive.
- SCFI: $1,600–$1,800 per FEU in weeks 49 and 50.
- NAC: US$1,500 – 1,700 per FEU, end of December.
Indicated in NEBP (UK ports are not included)
Carriers have also been willing to reduce pricing, citing the China-Southeast Asia market remains weak, especially with Shanghai outbound travel. Looking at all ports, they appear to have adequate equipment in addition to ample lane space.
To strike or not to strike. The rail industry remains in turmoil over pay disputes, benefits challenges, and time off fairness. As terms continue to be negotiated, there is a full list of strikes in the United Kingdom planned for January alone, which could have negative impacts on supply chain delivery.
In the US, the Biden Administration continues to pass last minute legislation that often delays or avoids rail strikes. 2023 is expected to see similar performance around workforce concerns and logistics delivery.
China continues to tackle supply chain problems with more than 3,000 km of new railway lines in development, 2500 of which are high speed rail. 102 new rail projects are planned to be completed by 2025.
Several headwinds face the trucking industry looking at 2023 and the CNY will temporarily exacerbate issues.
Revenues are expected to be impacted by contractual-rate declines climbing to the mid single digits, in addition to moderated economic activity.
Margins will be directly impacted by rising costs in labor, insurance and equipment, and maintenance. Lack of new truck supply will force carriers to push their fleets to the limit, increasing the costs of maintenance.
Comparison options are getting better and demand for used equipment is waning, meaning equipment sales -which have been experiencing a tailwind for most of 2022- are expected to do an about face and become a force of resistance in 2023.
Understanding the supply chain challenges of 2023 has been a focus for the logistics experts at ITC Diligence International Inc. With 30+ years of experience as a licensed customs broker, ITC Diligence International Inc. provides importers and exporters globally with 4PL solutions, FTZ warehouse partnerships, and supply chain logistic strategy.