There is an increasing trend of blank sailings in Asia-North Europe, according to the latest analysis by Sea-Intelligence.
"While the number itself appears relatively low, we need to keep in mind that the baseline number of regular scheduled services per week is currently 19," says Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence.
"Starting from week 1 in 2022, we have calculated the number of planned blank sailings in the coming eight weeks. In the subsequent week, we have calculated the number of planned blank sailings in the same 8-week period, which then allows us to calculate the change from week 1 to 2. The result of this is very volatile, as vessels can slide back and forth between weeks. To compensate for this, we took a 2-week rolling average."
For the Asia-Mediterranean, "we see quite the opposite. There was an increasing trend in March 2022, which reversed in the following weeks, and now there is a behaviour towards no additional blanking activity. This is perhaps a reason why the rate levels have held up more firmly on Asia-Mediterranean than on Asia-North Europe."
On the Asia-North America West Coast, there was a spike in the early part of the year due to Chinese New Year, the analysis said. "In recent weeks, changes made by the carriers on a weekly basis have remained rather stable. We see a similar case on Asia-North America East Coast, with the only difference being that the spike came a little later than on Asia-North America West Coast."
Drewry WCI down marginally
Drewry's composite World Container Index (WCI) declined 0.5 percent to $7,727.84/40ft container this week but remains 41 percent higher than a year ago.
The average composite index of the WCI, assessed by Drewry for year-to-date, is $8,830/40ft container, which is $5,524 higher than the five-year average of $3,306/40ft container.
"Freight rates on Shanghai–Rotterdam dropped 2 percent to $9,987/FEU. However, rates on Rotterdam–Shanghai gained 2 percent to $1,451/FEU. Similarly rates on Rotterdam–New York increased 4 percent to $7,212/FEU."
Drewry is expecting spot rates to remain stable in the coming weeks.
Freight rates continue to be weak
The Asia-US West Coast freight rate dropped 19 percent to $12,596/FEU this week but is 104 percent higher than the same time last year, according to data released by Freightos.
"The ongoing lockdown in Shanghai as well as China's Labor Day holiday that saw many factories across the country closed over the first half of this week continued to make exports scarce. Meanwhile, Covid case counts climbed in Beijing and other cities raising the possibility of additional lockdowns."
Asia-US East Coast freight rate declined 7 percent to $15,973/FEU but is 144 percent higher compared to last year.