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Blank sailings level off with carriers 'unblanking' some services

IN its continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, Sea-Intelligence has revealed that there are early signs of some demand returning for container shipping

26 May 2020 - 19:00

IN its continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, Sea-Intelligence has revealed that there are early signs of some demand returning for container shipping.

In its latest weekly Sunday Spotlight, the consultancy said: 'The total number of blank sailings has plateaued for a few weeks now, with carriers seemingly satisfied with their current blank sailing announcements.



'In the past week however, a few sailings have been re-instated as carriers see sufficient demand to warrant 'un-blanking' these sailings.'



However, Sea-Intelligence pointed out in its report that 'it is also clearly shown by the data that this is purely a very small change to the overall development in blank sailings.



'It cannot be seen as a rebound in demand, nor can it be construed as 'strong' demand,' the consultancy stressed.



It can only be seen as another indication that the carriers' approach is to blank sailings aggressively to ensure decent utilisation on the vessels that do indeed sail, and in the process avoid rate declines.



Meanwhile, the data also shows that especially the median vessel size in Asia-North Europe has increased substantially from 16,000 TEU at the time of Chinese New Year to 17,000 by the end of Q2. In this trade, the carriers therefore seem to favour the usage of their largest vessels and setting aside 'smaller' vessels.



However the consultancy noted that 'the data also clearly shows that there are still no material blank sailings for Q3 2020. As the booking uptake curve tends to start 4-5 weeks prior to loading, this means that we will likely begin to see carriers blank sailings for July within the next couple of weeks.


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