Maersk Line, the world’s largest ocean carrier, has decided to suspend bookings on all of its North Europe-Asia services as the company attempts to clear the backlog of containers in Europe’s congested ports.
The Danish shipper said that it is expecting to start accepting bookings from the start of May.
“At the moment, terminal density at some ports is nearing yard capacity,” the Maersk Line said in a statement.
“If bookings are not halted, this could negatively impact productivity, further slow down ocean carriers’ ability to clear the heavy backlog/overflow and impact other trades.”
The buildup has been caused by low demand on westbound services from the Asian continent following a number of consecutive cancellations after the
Chinese New Year, and in turn, eastbound sailings from Europe, according to the JOC.
However, demand for Asian bound services from Europe has risen strongly in recent months.
“The booking stop is temporary, and we are working to clear it as soon as possible so that we can resume booking acceptance as usual,” said Maersk.
“We are implementing this complete booking stop to ensure we prioritize and deliver on the bookings we have already accepted.”
According to Maersk, it is reviewing all options, including extra loader opportunities out of Northern Europe.