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Carriers cancel fewer services over Chinese New Year period

Figures from liner database eeSea's Blank Sailings Tracker indicate that container carriers are expected to provide more deepsea capacity out of Asia over the Chinese New Year holiday, beginning February 12, than in any other year.

Announced blank sailings for what is normally shipping's slack season are far fewer this year than previously. The data shows that, across the transpacific, Asia-Europe and transatlantic trades, just 1.7 per cent and 0.6 per cent of head haul sailings have so far been cancelled in February and March respectively, compared with the 19.9 per cent and 9.4 per cent sailings cancelled in the same months last year.

And very few sailings have so far been cancelled for the second quarter, whereas last year, cancellations amounted to 14.7 per cent of expected sailings, reports The Loadstar, UK.

According eeSea's Trade Capacity Index, this has translated into a year-on-year increase in TEU capacity of 7.6 per cent this month over January 2020, and the data also shows February and March are up by 34 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, partly due to fewer cancellations.

Simon Sundboell, chief executive of eeSea, said: "It's understandable that cargo owners and their related interests are frustrated by the tight ocean capacity situation these days.

"The impact on their businesses is huge. But there seems to be an impression that carriers are deliberately holding back capacity to push up freight rates. We don't see that. In fact, effective trade capacity is up.

"Just reading the news, we can see that carriers are snapping up any available charter tonnage. There is no idle capacity left, carriers are delaying scrapping, and the first new tonnage orders have even been placed," Mr Sundboell added.

New data published by Sea-Intelligence Consulting chimed with that analysis, showing that, as of the beginning of this year and with several weeks to go until Chinese New Year, carriers have only announced five blank sailings on the transpacific and seven on Asia-Europe during the holiday.

Sea-Intelligence said last year 73 sailings had been blanked due to Chinese New Year (although a further 15 were blanked as the pandemic began in earnest) and 67 in 2019.

Source:Shipping Gazette

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