Alliances announce more blank sailings
Ocean carriers have announced more blank sailings from Asia to Europe and the US, as they struggle to match capacity with falling demand.
THE Alliance (THEA) partners Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Yang Ming and HMM will cancel two additional headhaul voyages of the FE5 loop in weeks 21 and 23 at the end of May and suspend the FE4 string for two months from the end of April – from weeks 18 to 26. The final FE4 voyage before the suspension is next week, with the sailing from Qingdao of the 24,000 teus HMM Algeciras, the first voyage of HMM’s flagship ULCV within THEA, and it could see the world’s largest containership idled after it completes the round trip.
The South Korean carrier joined THEA as a full member on April 1. It is due to receive 12 24,000 new ULCVs by September, all stemmed to be phased into the FE4 loop, to replace 11 Hapag-Lloyd 15,000 teus vessels. Now they will potentially have no employment after they leave the shipyard. The suspension of the FE4 loop is also bad news for the UK’s London Gateway port as Hapag-Lloyd said its “cargo flows can be routed via our FE3 and FE5”, neither of which calls there.
According to data from maritime and supply chain intelligence firm eeSea, the ocean alliances have already cancelled 20% of their Asia-North Europe sailings between February and June and, with reports of a collapse in forward bookings as orders are delayed or cancelled, carriers will be obliged to void many more in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Ocean Alliance partners CMA CGM, Cosco (OOCL) and Evergreen yesterday announced 13 more blank sailings during April and May on the transpacific, “in response to the expected low demand in the market”, which brings the grouping into line with the 2M and THEA groupings’ blanked capacity on the route.
Source : The Load Star