We understand that carriers are introducing a number of blanked sailings for Asia during May – to reduce capacity following a drop in bookings.

Volumes have been falling during recent weeks due to Covid lockdowns in China and a general drop in overall demand following the Chinese New Year period.

Export bookings have dropped by around one third and skipping voyages will reduce capacity. By doing this they are seemingly protecting themselves against a fall in rate levels in what is generally a low demand period before peak season.

Rates have continued to rise since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. Demand has been continuously high ever since, and the traditional off-peak periods have just not materialised.

Now that we are seeing the first potential for higher than needed capacity, carriers are reacting accordingly. One shipping line described the upcoming cancellation of voyages as reacting to “the ongoing market situation’.

The extended lockdown in Shanghai has undoubtedly had a considerable impact on bookings, which was preceded by much shorter lockdown periods around the Shenzhen area.

Westbound are watching this situation very closely and will update further as the situation unfolds.

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