Date: 22.04.2020

The holiday challenge

Even with the continuing lockdown, we’ll be looking forward to the forthcoming May bank holiday in the UK, but have you considered the supply chain impact of China’s labour day holidays and the month of Ramadan, which may start this Friday.

Every supply chain manager sourcing from China will factor the week long (more like two weeks) Lunar New Year holiday in their planning and will typically ship orders ahead of the factory shutdown.

That’s why the shipping lines blank so many sailings immediately after CNY, because they know there’s going to be a drop in demand.

Of course Coronavirus pushed that drop over a cliff, but factories in China have been returning and many are now focused on producing PPE and other equipment.

China’s Labour Day Holiday on the 1st May has been extended to five consecutive days in 2020, which means those factories producing PPE and other equipment, will be effectively closed for much longer, interrupting essential supply chains, at a time when they are needed most.

Complicating critical supply chains further is the holy month of Ramadan, which will cut working hours and operational efficiency across the Middle East, probably from Friday.

With the scarcity and cost of air freight from China, the fast and economic Sea/Air service via Dubai, has been a vital supply chain alternative, particularly as sea freight is not yet viable for essential products.

Reduction in working hours will inevitably impact operational efficiency at receiving ports and critical transhipment hubs like Dubai.

Despite these additional layers of complexity we are confident that our team will overcome any challenge, with the same determination and diligence that they have applied throughout this crisis, wherever they may be.