As the days of China’s upcoming Golden Week holiday in early October come closer, shippers need to prepare for another week of struggles. Similar to Lunar New Year, various companies and factories will close for the week, and only resume business the following week. Like Lunar New Year, importers will try to speed up production and ship their containers out of China before manufacturing factories shut down. The rush usually begins 3-4 weeks before Golden Week, and the surge in demand tightens space capacity and increases rates. Blank sailings, or void sailings, are common occurrences following Golden Week, as carriers do their best to optimize their shipping routes, and skip over ports that have just reopened and have insufficient cargo. It also makes sense to execute blank sailings with the recent partial shutdown of Ningbo Port. What’s worse? The holiday doesn’t allow freight rates to loosen up and decrease. Quite the opposite happens, actually. As the industry struggles with container scarcity, staff shortages, and a complete halt of everything from Chinese forwarders, freight rates continue to increase. In order to best prepare for Golden Week, shippers are recommended to book their shipments and containers as soon as possible, or at the very least, 3-4 weeks in advance. If the shipment is time-sensitive, airfreight is always an option, albeit a pricey one.