TRANSPACIFIC carriers through mid-December have announced post-Chinese New Year blank sailings that far exceed the average number known at this point in the last seven years, reports IHS Media.
Carriers cancel scheduled sailings when cargo volumes are trending lower and forward-looking bookings also appear to be weak. Both factors are at play today in the eastbound transpacific, as imports from Asia have declined during the almost two-year long US-China trade war.
US imports from Asia declined 0.7 per cent in the first 11 months of 2019 compared with 2018, according to PIERS data. Year-on-year imports from China declined 7.8 per cent during that period.
"Things have slowed down quite a bit. We will go into Chinese New Year very slowly," said Jon Monroe, a consultant to freight forwarders in the Asia-North American trades.
Sunday Spotlight, which is published weekly by Sea-Intelligence Maritime Consulting, tracked blank sailings that have been announced by vessel-sharing alliances and individual carriers to take effect beginning in February 2020 when many factories will be closed for a week or two during Asia's annual Chinese New Year from January 25.