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TET and logistics in Vietnam: Plan ahead

​​​​​​​Tet is celebrated on the first day of the first month in the Lunar Calendar. The weeks before and after the Tet festival, are challenging for shippers as it puts high pressure on the supply chains. It’s peak season and more goods need to be supplied to the shops. The demand for products, like food items but also clothing, rises dramatically. Vendors work hard to keep up with the demand and stock-up extra supplies in the warehouses.

This is what you can expect:

Everyone is working at full capacity
Each partner company in the supply chain (from the manufacturer, to the warehouse, trucking company and store owner) is working at full capacity. As a consequence, a small problem in the supply chain (for example because a customer did not book a truck in time) can quickly lead to major stock shortages in stores. At the same time it becomes more difficult to fix problems and mistakes the closer you get to Tet because people are on annual leave. On top of that, getting goods from the warehouses to the consumer is likely to be more expensive because local trucking companies face capacity problems and sometimes charge higher rates. Planning ahead for Tet is therefore essential.

Local trucking companies close early
Customers need to be aware that local trucking companies will be starting to close for Tet about a week before the start of the holiday. They use these additional days to do maintenance on their trucks and allow the drivers more time to travel back to their home towns to enjoy the Tet holiday. To avoid any surprises, like having to pay double trucking fees, it is therefore essential for customers to have a trucking plan in place.

Shelves at the warehouses are full
Prior to Tet, the warehouses operate at full capacity. The shelves are packed and the warehouse staff puts in a lot of overtime to handle and transport the goods to the consumer in a very short period of time. As can be expected, the period right after Tet is usually a quiet time for the consumer goods business and activity at the warehouse is scaled back to the usual routine.

Airfreight is in the middle of its peak season to deal with the Tet rush
Before the long holiday export demand is surging resulting in a lack of flight capacity, higher rates and longer transit times than usual. To avoid delays our air freight team recommends to book in advance and at least 10 days prior to uplift days.
Customers must be aware that the airport terminal, airport customs and the airlines have very limited staff on duty during the Tet holidays. Right after Tet the airfreight operations will be back to normal again. However, because the factories need about a week to get back to operations, there is not much export demand the first week.

Expect delays after Tet at the ports
The Vietnamese ports and the CFS port warehouses follow the government announcement to close for the Tet holiday during specific dates. The terminals however will continue to work 24/24 hours and are open for incoming vessels. The days before Tet, the ports work overtime and try to load all export cargo to meet the Container Yard (CY) cut off time and unload all import shipments in time for Tet. After Tet, the ports will be back to full capacity when they resume work. However, they have to deal with heavy congestion at the terminals. Customers therefore need to expect delays created by the week-long closure. It usually takes a bit longer in the North than the South for the timelines to get back to normal.

Tips to prepare for Tet: 

  1. Plan ahead and make sure to add some additional days into the delivery timeline
  2. Always schedule enough time to get products shipped as booked
  3. Make sure you have a good trucking plan in place
  4. Try to book your shipments at least a week in advance
  5. Make sure your customs documentation, such as the customs sheet, is in order
  6. Be patient and communicate continuously with vendors/forwarders/carriers to make sure all shipping information is available to you and potential problems are quickly identified

Holiday Schedule 2019:
Vietnam Tet Holiday DB Schenker: Monday, February 4 to Friday, February 8, 2019