East-West Trade Routes Struggle With Cancellations And Rate Hikes

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Overview of Cancelled Sailings

Across the major East-West headhaul trades—Transpacific, Transatlantic, and Asia-North Europe & Med,43 cancelled sailings have been announced between week 23 (3 Jun-9 Jun) and week 27 (1 Jul-7 Jul). This represents a 7% cancellation rate out of a total of 661 scheduled sailings.

During this period, 54% of the blank sailings will occur on the Transpacific Eastbound, 30% on the Asia-North Europe and Med and 16% on the Transatlantic Westbound trade.

Over the next five weeks, OCEAN Alliance have announced 11 cancellations, followed by 2M and THE Alliance with 8 and 7 cancellations, respectively. During the same period, 17 blank sailings have been implemented by non-Alliance services.

Expected Sailings

As can be seen in the chart above, on average 93% of the ships are expected to sail as scheduled, over the next five weeks.

On the ocean freight side, Drewry’s Composite Freight Index rose 4% WoW to $4,226 – a massive 55% rise over the last four weeks. This week, rates on Asia-Europe and Med and Transpacific lanes were up by 4% WoW, while Transatlantic route saw a modest 1% fall WoW.

Despite faster vessel speeds and increased transhipments helping to maintain container schedules, rising port congestion is worsening the already strained container market. Singapore, the most affected port in Asia, faces severe congestion with 132 vessels waiting up to 46 hours, forcing some carriers to skip port calls and impacting downstream ports with increased volumes and further delays.

Potential Consequences

This clustering could cause overflow congestion and schedule disruptions at other locations. Ongoing congestion is likely to support the implementation of GRI’s (General Rate Increase) announced by carriers and perhaps push freight rates even higher.

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Source: Drewry

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