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'Sliding' services can help carriers to recover from shattered schedules

AN increasing number of ships are being held at departure ports, and in some cases, for more than a week, as liners struggle to recover from their shattered schedules

02 February 2021 - 19:00
AN increasing number of ships are being held at departure ports, and in some cases, for more than a week, as liners struggle to recover from their shattered schedules.

The carriers have not been able to secure additional capacity to mitigate the impact of port congestion, and are warning shippers to expect more sailings to be delayed.



Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen told customers that the carrier's fleet was 'fully deployed and stretched beyond capacity'.



He added: 'Let me assure you that if we can find additional capacity we will secure it, but the charter ship market is, at the moment, basically sold out.'



Mr Habben Jansen said in the past Hapag-Lloyd had been able to react to port congestion by 'adding recovery vessels to ensure that we continued to offer a weekly service', but given the shortage of open container tonnage on the charter market the carrier was adopting a strategy of delaying advertised sailings in an endeavour to recover schedules.



'This will result in some services not having a sailing for one to two weeks,' he warned.



Hapag-Lloyd's THE Alliance co-loading partners will no doubt advise their customers accordingly, reports UK's The Loadstar.Increasingly known as 'sliding', the strategy of delaying advertised sailings has largely replaced blanked sailings around this month's Chinese New Year holiday.



Last week, 2M alliance partners Maersk and MSC advised that they would withhold the scheduled sailing of their Asia-Europe AE55/Griffin sweeper loop, planned for week 6.



'The vessel will slide by one week and bookings will be kept on the same vessel,' said the 2M.



Notwithstanding the tonnage shortage, the unavailability of equipment to load Asian exports has exacerbated supply chain bottlenecks.



'The unexpected demand recovery and a decrease in container production has led to container availability to drop significantly,' said Mr Habben Jansen.


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