Container line Hapag-Lloyd has blanked 21 trans-pacific sailings as west coast port congestion and maxed out vessel capacities take their toll. More ocean carriers are likely to follow.
According to Hapag-Lloyd, this latest measure comes out of necessity.
Typically, carriers have blanked sailings around this time of year due to lack of demand and diminished manufacturing around the Lunar New Year. But this year’s cancellations have arrived for opposite reasons: ships simply are not in position for scheduled sailings. All available ships are in service, fully loaded, and facing severe delays.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to deal with unyielding container volume, leaving as many as 30 or more vessels at a time waiting at anchor. With most ships waiting several days for a chance to berth, sailing schedule reliability has crashed.
Hapag-Lloyd is the first carrier to blank sailings in order to correct its service schedule. These “structural blanks” give container lines a chance to reset. While cancelled sailings may help correct schedules and temporarily alleviate eastbound volume, they also point to continued delays for imports.
We expect to see more structural blanked sailings as container lines contend with terminal congestion, tight capacity aboard vessels, and container equipment shortages. Contact your Scarbrough International representative for further insight and assistance.