Container line alliances have announced a host of sailing cancellations in the post Chinese New Year period ahead of the traditional sharp decline in cargo bookings after the mainland’s biggest annual holiday.
The Year of the Rooster begins on Jan. 28, with shippers racing to get their cargo loaded before Chinese factories close and workers take off for much of the month of February. Demand is not expected to improve much before April.
The 2M Alliance of Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. and the G6 Alliance carriers — APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL, NYK Line, and Orient Overseas Container Line — are blanking several sailings on the major east-west trades.
Although the post CNY period has always been quiet, the run up to the Chinese holiday has been anything but. Spot freight rates on Asia-Europe remained surprisingly strong as year-end approached, with forwarders reporting difficulties in securing space on the trade and that carriers were resisting discounts.
“Space is very tight from China to North Europe and the shipping lines are not prepared to bargain. They have told me that if I book at a discounted rate they will not be able to guarantee my cargo schedule,” the owner of a Hong Kong-based forwarder told JOC.com.
Trans-Pacific shippers are also expecting contract rate hikes. by JOC.com found that 46 percent were preparing for increases of 1 to 10 percent in contract pricing. More than 20 percent of respondents expect rate increases of 10 to 20 percent.
Please notify to your vendors to place booking as early as possible. Thanks !