Hundreds of sailings blanked by shipping lines to cut down losses due to global pandemic
As the global outlook for international trade worsens due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, container shipping lines have been cancelling sailings and merging routes to cut down losses and stay afloat. According to a report by Sea-Intelligence, this week, the number of blanked sailings rose from 45 to 212. The largest capacity withdrawal was from the Asia-Europe trade lane where 29 to 34 per cent of capacity was removed. On 1st April, THE Alliance announced cancellations of 32 schedules sailings for the month of April. The cancelled sailings were majorly for connecting Asia to either Europe or the US. This indicates heavy decline in demand for containerized cargo containing finished products from Asia. Although blanked sailings may help reduce operating costs and keeping freight rates steady, the overall revenue will be affected.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) in its report stated that global trade is set to plunge between 13-32 % during 2020. It also warned that the estimates of expected recovery in 2021 were uncertain due to the precariousness of duration of COVID-19 pandemic and effectiveness of policy responses by nations.