COVID-19 impacts global container ship trade

Maritime intelligence company eeSea published a new analysis, according to which COVID-19 has seriously impacted the global container shipping capacity, as a total of 302 of 2,693 sailings, or 11%, have been cancelled in May on all the main line trades.

Source: https://safety4sea.com/covid-19-impacts-global-container-ship-trade/

2020 had a rough beginning, keeping in mind that the first COVID-19 case emerged in late December 2019, with the report stating that during the first six months of 2020, a total 1,675 sailings have been cancelled, or 11%; which comes out at 13% for 2M, 17% for Ocean Alliance and 17% for THE Alliance, while only 8% of non-alliance sailings have been cancelled.

Simon Sundboell, CEO and Founder of eeSea commented that

Understandably, ‘blank sailings’ are the talk of the town among container shipping and supply chain professionals these days. But to truly understand the impact, you need to look beyond the daily trickle of carrier advisories and the number of cancelled sailings. Instead, you need to look at the reduction of container shipping capacity and the pattern that is forming for the weeks and months ahead.

Concerning the Far East - North America, eastbound head haul, including Suez services, the actual deployed vs proforma capacity ratio, after blanks and suspensions, for May is 80% - almost as big a reduction as the February ratio of 71%. YoY (Year-on-Year), including discontinued services, the reduction in May is 21%.

In addition, the research notes that Far East to Europe westbound, shows similar capacity reductions.

Moreover, eeSea presented how sailings and cancellations evolved in Far East - Europe Head Haul, including Mediterranean and Northern Europe:

  • Far East to Europe westbound will see 14% of sailings, or 18 of 127 sailings, cancelled in April. This corresponds to a capacity reduction of 12%.
  • This is down from 36% cancelled sailings in February, and 21% in March. Currently, 19% of sailings in May are already announced as cancelled, and 12% in June.
  • THE Alliance has cancelled 22% of their April FEA-EUR sailings, and already cancelled a whopping 32% in May and 34% in June. 2M and Ocean Alliance are at respectively 12% and 10% in April, and 16% and 12% in May. However, it should be noted that Ocean Alliance cancelled 40% and 30% of FEA-EUR sailings in February and March.
  • Over the six-month period from January to June, the alliances have cancelled 18% of FEA-EUR sailings, with Ocean Alliance at 17%, THE Alliance at 23% and 2M at 14%.
  • With the currently announced capacity reductions, 2M will drop below Ocean Alliance in actual deployed capacity in June for the first time since Oct 2019.
  • For the first half of 2020, the current announced reductions amount to a 17% YoY drop in deployed capacity, from 11.2m in 2019 H1 to 9.5m TEU in 2020 H1.

On the other hand, concerning the Far East - North America Head Haul, East and West coasts, including the Suez Canal:

  • Transpacific eastbound will see 234 of 249 sailings, or 14%, cancelled in April. This corresponds to a reduction in capacity of 13%.
  • This is still down from the 28% cancelled sailings in February. March saw 9% cancelled, and currently 20% of sailings in May are announced cancelled, and 15% in June.
  • THE Alliance has cancelled 19% of sailings on Transpacific eastbound in April. 2M and Ocean Alliance are at 16% and 11%, respectively.
  • However, over the six-month period from January to June, the 2M, Ocean and THE alliances have cancelled 18%, 12% and 19% of sailings respectively.
  • For the first half of 2020, the current announced reductions amount to a 16.5% YoY drop in deployed capacity, from 12.4m in 2019 H1 to 10.7m TEU in 2020 H1.

SAPEI - Control Service S.R.L. (c) 2019

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