When should I order a shipment for Christmas?

August 26, 2021 /

Currently, there are many delays within the shipping industry. These delays are likely to affect Christmas this year as the delays, especially at ports, mean that items and goods and shipping containers are taking far longer to reach their destinations than they would usually. This could mean that some people may be in for a disappointing Christmas if the delays continue. This is why it is important to consider ordering shipping containers sooner rather than later so that you can receive your items in time for the holidays.

Delays from China

Many of your house-hold items may come from China, including most Christmas toys, many of which were probably delivered from Ningbo-Zhousan, China’s second-busiest port. Every year, the Ningbo-Zhousan port handles over 29 million 20-foot containers. Typically, a container ship from China will take around six to eight weeks from door-to-door to arrive. There is around a 2-week delay time from China added to this.

Christmas delays

It is a well-known fact that there can be delays around Christmas time, due to an influx of orders from people trying to buy gifts. However, the Chinese also have their own holidays, which can also cause some delays around this time of year. There is a national holiday in China of one week, form October 1st to October 7th. There is also the well-known Chinese New Year holiday which typically lasts around 7 to 10 days. However, if ordering from China, it would be wise to place orders in 3 weeks before this, as the holiday can cause delays.

Price changes

The prices to ship goods from China to the United Kingdom has changed drastically since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the average price to ship a 40-foot container from China to the UK was around 2,500 USD. This price has risen by a whopping 500% since the pandemic hit, and is now on average, around 12,500 USD. So, this is a significant increase. The prices of shipping will seemingly remain high for the foreseeable future.

What happens next?

Currently, the situation is entirely unpredictable, and nobody knows what is to come in the near future. It seems that prices will remain high, and the delays will continue. Managing Director of Easyimix, Adam Gilbourne, has said, “The higher freight prices go, the more reluctant importers are to ship containers, and so they either don’t ship, or don’t order. This means that the demand that was or still is there for these goods has not been met, meaning as more containers become available, there is even more demand for them! – It becomes an extremely dangerous self-perpetuating cycle” The fact that freight is going ‘up’ in what’s traditionally the time rates normally drop means there will be no time for rates to relax before we hit ‘peak season’ . Combine that with the fact that the fundamental reasons that caused the container shortages in the first place are not about to be fixed anytime soon – I genuinely don’t expect to see any substantial freight decrease until post Chinese New Year 2022. The truth is, times are challenging but importers will need to make some tough decisions. In many cases, importers need to make the decision of ‘do I stop importing and have no stock to sell? – or do I take a risk and try to pass on large price increases to the consumer? Many importers have been waiting in hope for freight prices to drop but this currently seems like an ill-advised strategy unless you have enough stock to last your business say 12 months.”

What to do if your shipment is delayed

To avoid delays, you should think about placing your order at least 2 weeks before you usually would. This should be enough time to ensure that your shipment arrives on time. However, if your shipment is delayed, then all you have to do is remain patient and ensure that communication between yourself and the supplier is kept regular.   If you have any concerns about a shipment, please do not hesitate to contact us.