The curse of blanked sailing programmes has seemingly made its way over to the TransAtlantic market and is starting to affect ocean freight container services in both directions between Europe and North America.

For many moons, we have been used to ocean freight carriers using the method of cancelling voyages to control overcapacity, and therefore rates, on routes that originate from Asia. Until recently this practice has not been commonly used on services between Europe and North America.

TransAtlantic markets are traditionally less volatile, where supply and demand does not peak and trough so frequently, and peak seasons and off-peak seasons are far less defined.

However, in the past few weeks we have started to see blank sailings become more prevalent, with the latest being a 2M Alliance departure from Bremerhaven that was due to sail for the USA on September 15th, before being cancelled with less than a week’s notice.

Blanked sailings seem to be a necessary evil for carriers to avoid losses when demand is low, but for exporters, importers and forwarders they are just a disruption to schedules that we could all do without.

Until global demand returns, we are likely to see more blanked sailings on TransAtlantic trade and could even witness entire loops being temporarily suspended. The Westbound team are monitoring the situation closely.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then Westbound are here to help. So, please do not hesitate to contact us.