Carriers were able to bring scheduled capacity down by 18 percent for the 4-week Chinese New Year (CNY) 2023 period, meaning that if the actual deployment stays like this, supply on the Asia-North America West Coast would be in line with the pre-pandemic baseline.

"This was brought about by an increase in blank sailings from 7.6 percent to 35.8 percent," says Sea-Intelligence in its latest update.

There was a similar trend on Asia-North America East Coast and Asia-North Europe with the scheduled 4-week CNY capacity deployment decreasing by -11% and -6%, respectively, "bringing both closer to the pre-pandemic baseline. The increase in blank sailings was also substantial in both cases."

Figure 2 shows the progression in the percentage of capacity blanked week by week from week 50 to week 3 (when the analysis was written), says Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence. "On both Asia-North America East Coast and Asia-North Europe, this new, higher level was more or less reached by Week 1."

For Asia-North America West Coast, however, this level was reached in increments, Murphy added. "This is an indication that perhaps the carriers are not as decisive on the Asia-North America trade lane than on the other two."

That said, a window of 2-3 weeks before CNY for the brunt of the blank sailing is still very late, the report concluded.

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