Blank sailings capacity up to over a quarter for Asia – US West Coast

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Blank sailings is on the increase in Asia – North America West Coast journeys as a result of ongoing congestion in ports and terminals.

New insight by Danish data analysts Sea-Intelligence noted that overwhelmed ports and ensuing congestion has led to 28.4% of total Asia – North America West Coast capacity blanked in Week 44.

The initial impact of the pandemic can be seen with the “extraordinarily high peak” of blank sailings in early 2020, as industry saw an extension and doubling of Chinese New Year, wrote CEO Alan Murphy.

“Since then, blank sailings dropped considerably, as demand picked up and capacity was ramped up. What then followed is what we call the congestion-induced blank sailings. With a blow-up in demand levels since the second-half of 2020, carriers struggled to deploy enough capacity.”

For the upcoming 12 weeks through to early March percentage of blanked capacity is scheduled to sharply decline, Murphy noted.

“This is because these blank sailings are not due to capacity management, but rather due to the carriers being forced to blank sailings, as a result of port congestion,” he wrote.

“This means that sailings will mostly not be blanked in advance, but will rather be the operational result of vessel congestion and delays, which cannot be known that well in advance, especially on a trade with a relatively short roundtrip time.”

Industry has seen a wealth of altered schedules and omitted port calls as a result of congestion inland: Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, and MSC have all omitted calls to major global ports in recent weeks.

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