About one in three containership sailings between China and North America were pulled by carriers during the week of Feb. 3-9, according to BlueWater Reporting, which has launched a new application that generates an analysis of vessel sailings skipped on a week-to-week basis by trade route.
For the trade from China to North America, 15 sailings were pulled for the first week of the three-week Chinese Spring Festival, which started on Chinese New Year's on Jan. 31. The 15 sailings accounted for 110,645 TEUs, or about a third of the normal operating capacity on the trade. A further 53,035 TEUs from eight sailings were pulled for the week of Feb. 10-16. The skipped sailings capacity was similar to what was seen last year in the trade from China.
U.S. exporters will see an increase in skipped sailings in March as a result of the cancellations on the eastbound transpacific for the festival. Twelve return sailings with a total capacity of 89,417 TEUs from North America to China have been cancelled between March 2-9, and six sailings with a total capacity of 40,826 TEUs have been cancelled for the two following weeks.
Skipping sailings have become a more popular tool for carriers to help match capacity to market demand; they offer a finer tool for managing capacity rather than pulling strings, adjusting vessel size, or slow steaming, though to date, skipped sailings have only been employed primarily on the major East-West trade routes.
The new BlueWater Reporting Skipped Sailings Report
allows users to see how carriers are managing capacity by pulling sailings on all trade routes. The data shows the services have pulled sailings and the estimated amount of capacity withdrawn. BlueWater Reporting started collecting skipped sailings data in January 2013 by tracking services on which a complete sailing was withdrawn. In January this year, BlueWater Reporting started tracking partial skips as well.
BlueWater Reporting tries to track skipped sailings five weeks forward for skipped sailings that are announced in advance but will adjust data based on actual skips after the fact.