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Container shipping blank sailings reaching peak pandemic

Article-Container shipping blank sailings reaching peak pandemic

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The container shipping sector has now reached the peak impact of the COVID-19 in terms of blanked sailings according to analyst Sea Intelligence.

SeaIntel said that last week, week 17, saw the peak of blank sailings on the Asia – North Europe trade with some 38% cancelled. In week 19 the Mediterranean to North America East Coast has 33% blank capacity and  Asia to East Coast South America seeing a  59% capacity cut week 20. However, while the weeks in late April – May see the peak in terms of cancelled services there will be a continued impact on the market.

“For Asia-North Europe the market will experience more than 20% capacity withdrawal for 7 consecutive weeks, hereof three weeks in excess of 35%. For both Asia-Mediterranean and Asia-East Coast South America the shippers will have to navigate around 4 weeks where the cancelled capacity exceeds 30%,” said Alan Murphy ceo of SeaIntel.

The large-scale blanking of sailings is also set to cause problems on the backhaul for export volumes and empty container repositioning.

“In the coming 6-8 weeks we could very well see a period where the export cargo and empty flow combined exceeds the total capacity available in the market. Historically this has led the carriers to favour empty container evacuation and curb booking intake with rising freight rates as a result,” Murphy said.

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