THE use of increasingly large vessels on deepsea trade lanes will mean that carriers will have less flexibility to adjust capacity by blanking sailings, according to new analysis by SeaIntel.
A study of blankings over the past 108 weeks on the Asia-northern Europe trade lanes identified 95 suspended sailings, meaning that roughly one departure a week is skipped, not including the Chinese New Year and Golden Week celebrations. Of the 95 missed sailings, carriers chose to blank large vessels in just 16% of the cases, while in 84% it was a small vessel that was replaced by a blank sailing.
However, the analyst did find large differences between the carrier groupings when choosing whether to blank large or small vessels when studying data from January 2013 to early April 2015. Analysis of the blanking data shows that carriers often choose to blank capacity equal to the small vessels in the weeks where demand does not match capacity. However, with many orders for ever larger vessels and the assumption that these ultra large container vessels will be phased into Asia-North Europe, the number of services is expected to decrease over the coming years as these new and larger vessels are delivered.
This will mean the carriers will have less flexibility to adjust capacity by blanking sailings. Fewer services with larger vessels mean that if a sailing is blanked, a larger percentage of the carrier grouping’s weekly capacity will be lost and more of the carriers’ customers will be affected.
Source: Lloyd’s List