The staggering volume of blank sailings announced by ocean carriers in response to dwindling demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is having a ripple effect on global ports.
The impact of the trend has been relatively limited in the first quarter of the year, however, concerns have already been raised that the situation is likely to worsen in the second quarter of the year with much higher economic impact.
According to the data from Copenhagen based intelligence provider Sea-Intelligence, the number of blank sailings on the main east-west trades is now some 250-350% higher than what is normally seen during Chinese New Year.
The Asia-Europe trade lane has been affected the most, especially impacting the ports on the Mediterranean. The route hosts the majority of the world’s ultra-large containerships.
” As such, the calls to individual ports from these behemoths are an important part of both their operations and finances,” Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence, said.
“Looking at 2020-Q2, the hardest-hit ports in the Mediterranean are La Spezia, Tangiers, and Damietta which see more than 40% of their direct calls removed due to blank sailings from Asia. In North Europe, the hardest hit ports are Felixstowe, Zeebrugge, and Antwerp with roughly a 30% drop in vessel calls from Asia. “
According to Sea-Intelligence, there are only 7 ports that are presently not scheduled to experience blank sailings.
“This clearly shows that the capacity reductions performed by the carriers will not have an even impact across different cargo gateways, and as a consequence, this might serve to strengthen the longer-term competitive positioning of some ports over others in Europe,” Murphy added.
Imformation source: World Maritime News Staff , Image Courtesy: Internews