New Dynamics in New Year: Local officials, businesses maintain full operations demand despite holidays
Govt, businesses extend work hours, streamline processes for overseas orders ahead of Spring Festival holidays
Published: Feb 08, 2024 05:11 PM
An aerial drone photo taken on Feb 2, 2024 shows container vessels berthing at a container terminal of Tianjin Port in north China's Tianjin. Tianjin Port, located on the coast of the Bohai Sea, is a major shipping point in north China. Photo:Xinhua

An aerial drone photo taken on Feb 2, 2024 shows container vessels berthing at a container terminal of Tianjin Port in north China's Tianjin. Tianjin Port, located on the coast of the Bohai Sea, is a major shipping point in north China. Photo:Xinhua

Chinese businesses, ranging from home appliances to daily essentials, are ramping up full operations to ensure deliveries are on time, although the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival is around the corner.

Complimenting efforts from local governments, which are ensuring smoother operations, industry analysts said reflect China's continued strength as the world's leading manufacturing power, defying certain narratives in the Western media about supply chains shifting away from China. It also underscores the nation's enduring commitment to the global market.

"We are swamped with orders ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, for many foreign clients, particularly those from Europe, who are expecting timely delivery of products," Ding Yandong, general manager of Rollmax shutter component Co, a manufacturer in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Just now, I received a phone call from a client in Ukraine eager to finalize a contract as soon as possible, involving around $80,000," Ding said, highlighting the busy start of the year.

In response to the strong demand, workers were operating at full capacity, even considering the possibility of shortening holiday periods to meet the increased demand.

In mid-February, which is the second half of the Spring Festival holidays, Ding will have no time to rest. He will be heading to Germany for an industrial exhibition to secure more deals.

Ding is not alone. An anonymous employee at TCL, a Chinese home appliance manufacturer based in South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times that there are many employees still working ahead of schedule for overseas orders, with some workers hoping to return to work as early as possible, despite the holidays.  

Another employee from Shenzhen-based MBO, an air-conditioner producer, echoed that their colleagues were planning to go back to the work before the official end of the holidays to fulfill unmet orders.

Export orders have increased this year because global climate gets warmer in recent years, and our rising orders are from the markets such as Middle East and Southeast Asia, he added. 
The rush to front-load orders in Europe, prompted by lingering longer transportation hours due to the Red Sea crisis, is also contributing to the busy shipment schedule. 

Local customs from the North to the South have all ramped up efforts to ensure the smooth delivery of Chinese-made goods abroad.

Gong Dongdong, a customs officer from Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times that he is busier than ever.

As an inspector, a key part of his job is to ensure entry and exit checkpoints are running smoothly and whether there are any container backlogs on the premises.

Yiwu's foreign trade export is reaching its peak as the Spring Festival draws near, Gong and his colleagues on some days sealing more than 2,000 containers for customs clearance in a day, he said.

There has no any cargo backlog or truck congestion at Yiwu railway port ahead of the holidays, according to local customs.

Due to the prolonged shipping times caused by the turbulent international situation including the Red Sea crisis, some European customers have requested early shipments, adding extra production pressure, Shen Jianliang, a deputy general manager of administration department of Ningbo-based Jiwei Leisure Products Co, told the Global Times.

To ensure on-time delivery, the company has activated full-fledged overtime mode to catch up on production and orders since January. "At the busiest times, we had more than 1,600 workers working simultaneously to maintain production," Shen said.

Meanwhile, local customs have made early preparations to provide full support for local companies, with measures such as priority inspection for goods, the Global Times learned from Ningbo Customs.

The busy time for the holidays came against the backdrop of the rising new export orders at the beginning of the year. 

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that in January, the new export order index stood at 47.2 percent, up by 1.4 percentage points month-on-month, indicating an improvement in external market demand.

"This trend demonstrates the resilience and strength of China's foreign trade, defying the odds portrayed by certain foreign media outlets targeting China," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday.

As the world continues to rely on China for product supplies, businesses are committed to putting in extra working hours to meet this demand, Bai said.