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Lines blank 919 transpacific and Asia-Europe sailings since early 2020

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Container lines have blanked 919 sailings on the transpacific and Asia – Europe trades since early 2020 with a steady level having emerged after initial spikes, according to analyst Sea Intelligence.

Carriers have blanked 919 sailings on the two trades since week 4 of 2020 when the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic first started to be felt in China. Spikes in cancelled sailings were seen in March, May and August last year.

Following the August spike was related to Golden week the analyst observed that the trend shifted away from spikes to steady flow of weekly blanked sailings, which it now sees as having an upward trend.

“A new pattern emerged in September 2020 with a steady level of blank sailings on both trades, resulting in a steady cumulative increase; a trend which is still in effect,” said Alan Murphy, CEO of SeaIntel.

While the spikes in blank sailings through to August 2020 were caused by lines managing capacity in the face of sharp drops in demand current cancelled sailing related shortage of vessel capacity with causes such as port congestion, delays due to crew with Covid, and vessels struck with engine malfunctions.

“All of which implies that at least a part of the blank sailings presently are the result of operational necessity – there is simply no other choice when a vessel is unavailable, and no replacement can be had,” Murphy said.

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