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Peak Season and Golden Week 2024: Impact on Maritime Transport and How to Prepare

In global trade, there are cyclical seasons that create challenging conditions for maritime transport. Periods like “Peak Season” and specific holidays like “Golden Week” present complications for both importers and exporters. During these periods, the demand for maritime transport increases significantly, creating logistical and financial challenges that need to be addressed with foresight and strategy.

What is Peak Season in maritime freight?

Peak Season is the time of year when there is a significant increase in demand for maritime transport services, leading to delays, higher rates, and container space shortages. These periods often coincide with preparations for global holidays and major commercial events. Typical demand peaks occur months before Christmas, Chinese New Year, and the European summer.

The reasons behind the increase in demand are varied: the need to restock inventories before major shopping seasons, the launch of new products, and preparations for important holidays. Electronics, textiles, toys, and consumer goods are examples of sectors that experience higher shipping volumes during Peak Season.

What is Golden Week?

Golden Week is one of the most important holidays in East Asian countries like China and Japan. This week of national holidays results in a near-total shutdown of commercial and manufacturing activities, leading to a significant increase in exports from these countries. In 2024, Golden Week will be celebrated from October 1st to 7th.

During Golden Week, exports from China increase dramatically before and after the holiday period. This is because companies aim to ship their products before the shutdown and quickly resume exports once the holiday ends. This phenomenon generates high demand for maritime transport, increasing rates and competition for container space.

Market Conditions Outlook 2024

During Peak Season and Golden Week, maritime freight rates usually rise significantly. For example, in previous years, rate increases of up to 50% have been recorded during these periods. Key ports such as Los Angeles, Long Beach, Shanghai, and Rotterdam are susceptible to congestion and delays. Container space shortages are one of the most critical consequences for importers and exporters.

In addition to existing records, conditions such as political, economic, and armed conflicts occurring in the Red Sea or climatic circumstances like low water levels in the Panama Canal increase the already existing market consequences.

Recommendations for Peak Season and Golden Week

To mitigate the challenges of Peak Season and Golden Week, the following strategies are recommended:

  • Plan Ahead: Anticipate shipping needs and plan well in advance to avoid demand peaks.

  • Book Container Space: Early reservations ensure space availability at more competitive rates.

  • Consider Alternatives: Evaluate options like Less-than-Container Load (LCL), air, or rail transport to avoid maritime congestion.

  • Be Flexible: Flexibility in shipping dates can allow for taking advantage of lower demand periods.

  • Maintain Communication: Regular contact with suppliers and logistics operators helps anticipate and resolve problems.

  • Use Tracking Tools: Tracking technologies enable real-time shipment monitoring and effective management of any unforeseen events. Some of these tools include: carrier platforms, independent web portals, mobile apps, and supply chain management (SCM) software. Tracking tools are chosen based on specific shipment needs: volume, functions, and budgets.

Peak Season and Golden Week present significant challenges for maritime transport in 2024. Advance planning, flexibility, and the use of tracking technologies are key to managing these high-demand periods. By implementing effective strategies, importers and exporters can minimize negative impacts and ensure their operations continue without major interruptions. In a globalized world, preparation is the best tool to face the logistical challenges of these critical seasons.

SPARX: Efficient logistics transform high-season challenges into competitive advantages.



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