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Blank sailings hit 435 in 2020 with more expected to come in Q2, but rates hold firm

SEA-INTELLIGENCE data shows that 435 sailings have now been scrapped on various container shipping trade routes, indicating that demand has so far dropped by seven million TEU this year

27 April 2020 - 19:00

SEA-INTELLIGENCE data shows that 435 sailings have now been scrapped on various container shipping trade routes, indicating that demand has so far dropped by seven million TEU this year.

What is interesting to note is that over the past six weeks, the CCFI contract rate index is 11 per cent higher than at the same period last year - despite the drop in both demand and collapse in oil prices. The decrease in the overall index since the Chinese Lunar New Year is in line with normal seasonality.



Also noteworthy is the different approach that the major ocean liner alliances have taken to blank sailings.



Typically, the 2M alliance between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) along with THE Alliance announce void sailings ranging usually to the end of the second quarter and then supplement these with a few additional blank sailings tactically as the situation evolves.



Ocean Alliance, on the other hand, announces blank sailings for a shorter period into the future and has not yet announced much for the latter part of Q2. As an example on the transpacific, the three alliances have each blanked 17-24 per cent in weeks 15-21. However, for weeks 22-27, the 2M and THE Alliance have blanked 19-21 per cent, whereas Ocean Alliance at this point has withdrawn only six per cent.



However, more shelved sailings are expected to come from the Ocean Alliance in the second quarter in light of the worsening economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic.


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