Approaching Golden Week 2023: Here’s What Freight Forwarders can Expect

Alexa McPherson, 22 September 2023

Golden Week is nearly here. What can freight forwarders expect this year?

Golden Week, in the context of freight forwarding, refers to a significant challenge and opportunity in the shipping industry. This blog will delve into the following topics:

What is Golden Week?

When is Golden Week?

How will Golden Week affect freight forwarders in 2023?

Current state of shipping rates and trends in the maritime sector


What is Golden Week?

Golden Week is a term coined to describe the extended holiday period in China, typically spanning seven days. It usually consists of three public holidays: National Day (October 1st), Mid-Autumn Festival (falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar), and sometimes the weekends in between are bridged with additional days off to create a week-long holiday extravaganza. This period allows Chinese citizens to travel, visit their families, and engage in leisure activities, resulting in a mass migration that affects not only domestic but also international logistics and trade.



When is Golden Week in 2023?

Golden Week in 2023 is expected to take place from October 1st to October 7th. While the exact dates can vary slightly from year to year, it generally falls within the first week of October.


Golden Week Impact on Freight Forwarders in 2023

Golden Week can have both positive and negative implications for freight forwarders. Here's a closer look at how it will affect them in 2023:

Capacity Crunch

During Golden Week, many factories and manufacturing facilities in China shut down temporarily. This results in a surge of shipping orders just before and after the holiday as businesses rush to meet production deadlines. Freight forwarders may experience a capacity crunch during this period, leading to limited space on vessels and increased competition for bookings.

Congestion at Ports

The influx of cargo shipments before and after Golden Week can lead to congestion at Chinese ports. This congestion can cause delays in loading and unloading containers, impacting shipment schedules and delivery times. Freight forwarders will need to anticipate these delays and plan accordingly.



Price Fluctuations

The law of supply and demand comes into play during Golden Week. With a surge in shipments, freight rates are likely to increase as carriers capitalize on the high demand for shipping services. Forwarders will need to navigate these price fluctuations and negotiate favorable rates for their clients.

Booking Challenges

Securing container space on vessels can be a major challenge for freight forwarders during Golden Week. It's essential to make bookings well in advance and maintain strong relationships with carriers to ensure access to the needed capacity.

Communication and Coordination

Effective communication and coordination become paramount during this period. Freight forwarders must stay in close contact with clients, shipping partners, and other stakeholders to provide real-time updates on shipment status and any potential delays.

Alternative Routes

Some experienced freight forwarders may opt for alternative routes or transshipment options to avoid the congestion and delays associated with Chinese ports during Golden Week. These alternative routes may involve routing shipments through neighboring countries or using different modes of transportation.


Current Shipping Rates and Trends

Understanding the current state of shipping rates and prevailing trends in the maritime sector is crucial for freight forwarders preparing for Golden Week in 2023. In recent years, shipping rates have experienced unprecedented spikes, primarily due to a combination of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, port congestion, container shortages, and increased demand for goods. As of September 2021, rates remained elevated compared to historical averages. Freight forwarders should prepare for these high rates and factor them into their pricing strategies and budgeting.

The maritime sector is increasingly focusing on sustainability and decarbonization efforts. This includes the adoption of cleaner fuels, the development of eco-friendly vessel designs, and stricter emissions regulations. Freight forwarders need to stay informed about these developments as they may impact shipping routes and costs. They may need to adjust their operations to comply with the new regulations and consider the use of more sustainable transportation options.



The industry is embracing digitalization and automation to streamline operations and improve efficiency. Freight forwarders can leverage technology to optimize routing, track shipments in real-time, and enhance customer service. It is essential for freight forwarders to embrace these technological advancements and invest in digital tools to gain a competitive edge and meet evolving customer expectations. Using tech platforms such as the ones provided by the 7ConNetwork Plus & Premium memberships can help forwarders gain this advantage.


Golden Week in China presents both challenges and opportunities for freight forwarders in 2023. Navigating the capacity crunch, port congestion, price fluctuations, and communication hurdles is essential to ensure smooth operations during this period. Being proactive, staying informed about current shipping rates and trends, and leveraging technology will be key to success.

As the industry continues to grapple with global challenges and transformations, forward-thinking strategies and a commitment to delivering value to clients will remain the guiding principles for freight forwarders during Golden Week and beyond. Forwarders that are looking for a quick way to become more flexible and deliver better service to their customers can join a top freight forwarder network like 7ConNetwork.

Contact Alexa McPherson