Blank sailings set to continue into box shipping’s peak season


Container shipping consultancy Sea-Intelligence is advising shippers to prepare for the recent patterns of blank sailings by lines to continue into box shipping’s peak season.

In its latest Sunday Spotlight briefing, Sea-Intelligence noted: “With the Q3 peak-season approaching, we are anticipating a large number of blank sailings from July onwards. We advise market participants to prepare for cancellations in July of the same services that have already seen substantial cancellations.

“On Transpacific, we expect THE Alliance’s EC3 and PS5, and 2M’s TP8/Orient to be heavily blanked, while on Asia-Europe, we expect it to be 2M’s AE2/Swan and AE20/Dragon, and THE Alliance’s FE4.”    

Sea-Intelligence’s latest Sunday Spotlight issue also looked at the impact of the pandemic on “the four-year trend of spot rate stabilisation”, by examining the inter-week spot rate volatility, on the SCFI index between March 2009 and May 2020 – and the volumes moved by the top 100 US importers and exporters.

“For Asia-North Europe, we can see the spike in spot rate volatility during the market collapse in 2016,” it noted. “Since 2017 however, the spot rate environment has remained very stable, with very low volatility, continuing even through the pandemic.

“For Asia-North America West Coast, we see a similarity in the patterns, although the reduction in volatility is not as high as in Asia-North Europe. Furthermore, although the Asia-North America West Coast data is seen to be fluctuating more, the declining trend in spot rate volatility has been maintained during the pandemic period as well.”   

Explaining its methodology, it said: “To see the inter-week spot rate volatility, we took the absolute value of the weekly percentage change in SCFI for each week between 20March 2009 and 29May 2020. Additionally, to view the underlying trends and to avoid the inter-week volatility, we have taken a 13-week rolling average.”