Shipping lines have blanked sailings due to declining container demand to and from Asia as the Golden Week holiday approaches.
This is consequently leading to widespread factory closures to match reduced supply with demand, according to the latest data from Sea-Intelligence.
Yet, the 2023 Golden Week blanked capacity released in issue 629 of the Sea-Intelligence Sunday Spotlight shows that “carriers had not scheduled blank sailings even close to what was required, to match the blanked percentages of pre-pandemic years,” said Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence.
“Fast forward 2 weeks to this week, and 29 additional blank sailings have been scheduled on the Transpacific, and 18 more on Asia-Europe.”
Reductions of scheduled capacity on Asia-North America West Coast increased from 3.7 per cent to 14.1 per cent.
On Asia-North America East Coast, it increased from 2.2 per cent to 16.1 per cent, and from 6.8 per cent to 19.9 per cent, according to Sea-Intelligence.
Additionally, on Asia-Mediterranean, scheduled capacity reductions went from 7.7 per cent to 21.0 per cent.
Sea-Intelligence explained that this means that shipping companies are now planning to blank enough capacity to match the levels seen in 2019 and the average levels from 2017 to 2019.
“Figure 1 shows the development on Asia-North Europe, where the red line shows the scheduled capacity for the 2023 Golden Week (+3 weeks) period, as it stood two weeks ago in week 43, compared to the same period in 2017-2019, as the pandemic years of 2020-2022 are too volatile to be used as a reasonable benchmark,” Murphy explained.
There were no Golden Week capacity reductions two weeks prior as the scheduled capacity was significantly more than what was witnessed during the pre-pandemic period.
“The red dashed line shows what has happened over the past two weeks: a massive reduction in scheduled capacity, due to a large number of ‘last minute’ blank sailings,” said Murphy.
The percentage of blanked capacity throughout the 4-week period on Asia-North Europe is higher than the 2017-2019 period reaching at 19.9 per cent.