In spite of the unprecedented numbers of cancelled and blanked sailings from Asia, the impact for our customers has been minimised, as our sea freight teams in the UK and China have leveraged volume contracts and shipping line relationships to get cargo lifted.
In response to the collapse in demand for sea freight space, caused by the global spread of the Coronavirus and the economic impact of lockdowns, the shipping lines in the three alliances have removed huge volumes from the market, in an effort to match capacity with demand.

And so far their efforts have been remarkably successful, keeping a lid on the rate erosion by withdrawing 34 of the scheduled 130 sailings this month

The vast numbers of blanked sailings on the Asia to Europe trade lane is three times greater than normal and means that calls to UK ports are down 30%.

Last week nine vessels were withdrawn, removing the equivalent of 147k TEUs, representing 49% of the total market capacity and unlike anything ever seen before.

NGL sea freight teams in the UK and China leverage volume contracts and shipping line relationships to keep our clients’ cargo moving

This week and moving forward the level of volume reductions are still challenging; 23% this week and similar levels over the next few weeks, but our team are coping.

We work closely with all our customers, to keep them informed and up to date with developments, that can change rapidly with lines unexpectedly cutting allocations, rejecting bookings and rolling without warning if they have over-booked the vessel.

The total inactive container vessel fleet reached 2.40 Mteu at the end of April, with scrubber installations accounting for 716,000 teu or 30% of the total inactive fleet.

Excluding ships that are undergoing scrubber retrofit work from the capacity count, the inactive fleet presently stands at over 1.68 Mteu – a number that still exceeds the previous peaks recorded in 2016 (at 1.59 Mteu) and in 2009 (at 1.52 Mteu), when the active container vessel fleet sank to historical lows.