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Increase in blank sailings disrupts shipments from Asia to North Europe

Ocean carriers are expected to issue blank sailings in the coming weeks as demand on exports from Asia decreases

Recent COVID lockdowns across China have caused congestion and delays to cargo imports and exports. In an attempt to mitigate the impact, ocean carriers have announced blank sailings over the coming weeks.

36% of sailings are set to be blanked on average across the major alliances,  likely resulting in extended lead times on goods, especially those destined for North Europe and the UK.

A recent report published by Project44 noted long import dwell times at the port of Shanghai, peaking at just over 2 weeks at the end of April, whilst export dwell was only at around 3 days. The key challenge across Shanghai's terminals is a shortage of truck drivers which is causing high import dwell as offloaded containers are not being moved, whilst the same issue has resulted in a reduced volume of export cargo reaching the port.

While demand has decreased accordingly, carriers have managed to discharge empty containers in Shanghai in preparation for a surge in demand once the tight COVID restrictions begin to ease, anticipating potential equipment shortages.

With warehousing and manufacturing operations slowly resuming, truck drivers are still being turned away if they have travelled to medium or high risk areas within the last 14 days, a restriction causing disruption across China's inland trucking sector.

You can find more information on China's current COVID impact in our China COVID Update.

If you have any questions about your Asia shipments or would like to discuss alternative supply chain planning, please contact our dedicated team here.

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