Vessel Delays and Rolled Schedules Result in Blank Sailings
Carriers have traditionally used blank sailings as a tactical tool to manage supply to demand.
However, with the North American demand boom and the resulting port congestion, carriers have been struggling to meet their weekly vessel departure obligations, resulting in vessel delays, rolled schedules, and blank sailings.
Alan Murphy, the CEO of Sea-Intelligence, says, “The largest impact currently is on the Asia-North America West Coast trade lane.
“The initial impact of the pandemic can be seen with the extraordinarily high peak in early 2020, as we basically saw an extension and doubling of Chinese New Year.
“Since then, blank sailings dropped considerably, as demand picked up and capacity was ramped up. What then followed is what we call the congestion-induced blank sailings.”
With a blow-up in demand levels since the second half of 2020, carriers struggled to deploy enough capacity, says Mr Murphy.
With ports overwhelmed and the ensuing congestion, carriers struggled to maintain weekly sailing schedules, and as a result, were forced to blank sailings.
In the current quarter, the percentage of capacity blanked is scheduled to decline sharply, which is expected.
“This is because these blank sailings are not due to capacity management, but rather due to the carriers being forced to blank sailings as a result of port congestion.
“This means that sailings will mostly not be blanked in advance but will rather be the operational result of vessel congestion and delays, which cannot be known that well in advance, especially on a trade with a relatively short roundtrip time.”
Source: The New Zealand Shipping Gazette
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