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What to expect from the Chinese New Year 2023

The Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and for the first time in three years, the Chinese public holiday will take place without widescale COVID-19 restrictions and strained supply chains. It is therefore expected that this year’s celebration will be very different from what we have seen in recent years.

Picture of red lanterns

On 21 January 2023, one of the most prominent Chinese celebrations – the Chinese New Year – begins. Every year, the celebration is accompanied by a seven-day public holiday in China, where most of the country’s activities are paused, as hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens travel to their hometowns to spend the holiday with family and friends.

The Chinese New Year normally has a significant impact on the global market for transport and logistics, and although the public holiday itself only lasts one week, the impact of the celebration is usually felt long before and after. This is partly due to the delayed effects of the limited production volumes during the national holiday and partly because a large number of workers on short-term contracts opt to leave their jobs at this time of year, leading to reduced capacity for many businesses in the time that follows the celebration.

Implications of the Chinese New Year 2023

For the past three years, the Chinese New Year has been celebrated under unusual circumstances due to China’s extensive COVID-19 restrictions on both international and domestic travels. However, with the recent lifting of COVID restrictions in China and the general slow-down in the market, the Chinese New Year will likely not have as widespread global implications as normally.

Below is listed the most important air, sea and road freight information to be aware of ahead of the upcoming holiday.

Air freight

  • In terms of carrier capacity, no flight cancellations have been announced at this point, and terminal operations are running normally.
  • We are seeing improved efficiency in the air inbound cargo handling process at terminals due to the eased COVID restrictions.
  • Since 8 January 2023, the Pudong airport terminal has cancelled the sterilisation of cold chain cargo and lifted the surcharge. The handling module for all types of cargo has therefore returned to normal.

Sea freight

  • Due to the current uncertainty in the market for sea freight as well as low demand, it is not expected that we will see a typical Chinese New Year peak this year.
  • We expect to see an increase of at least 10% in the number of blank sailings from China. Between week 4 and week 6, blank sailings will likely reach 25% on FEWB (the Far East Westbound routes) and 27% on TPEB (the Trans Pacific East Bound routes).

Domestic trucking services

  • Many drivers are expected to have an earlier and longer holiday than in previous years.
  • The following changes have been announced by DSV’s trucking service provider in China:
    • LTL (less than truckload) services will be suspended between 13 January and 4 February
    • FTL (full truckload) services will be available throughout the Chinese New Year celebration but will be subject to a holiday surcharge between 21 January and 27 January

Due to the public holiday, DSV’s offices in China will be closed between 21 and 27 January, while offices in Hong Kong will be closed between 22 and 25 January, both days included. For assistance during this time, please contact your local DSV representative.


About the Chinese New Year 2023

The Chinese New Year 2023 will fall on 21 January, and in connection with the celebration, a public holiday will take place between 21 – 27 January in China and between 22 – 25 January in Hong Kong and Macao.

The annual celebration, which is also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and it was traditionally a time for honouring “deities” (gods, goddess or other supernatural beings) as well as old ancestors. Today, the customs and traditions surrounding the celebration vary widely from province to province within China, but for most of the Chinese population, the New Year is a time for visiting family and friends.

According to the Chinese Vice Transport Minister Xu Chengguang, it is expected that close to 2.1 billion trips will be made in connection with the Chinese New Year 2023. This is twice as many trips as seen at the same time last year, but only 70% of the travel volumes during the holiday in 2019.

The Chinese New Year 2023 will mark the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit.

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