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Here’s a good question well asked. Tomorrow sees the beginning of Chinese New Year, marking the beginning of a two-week holiday period for the entire 1.3bn population. Everything – bar the tea-houses, restaurants and bars – will close down, and shippers from outside the country have spent the last few weeks trying to get their goods out of China before this shutdown. Annually, this leads container shipping lines – and to a lesser extent airlines – to warn of tight capacity and rising rates. But why aren’t they better prepared for what, after all, has been in the diary for a year?

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