Golden Week’s blanked sailings complicate holiday shipments.

One wouldn’t think that in the midst of such a crazy ocean market a carrier like 2M would blank sailings for the upcoming Chinese Golden Week in October, but here we are. With cargo already booked, some shippers are fuming at the idea of less capacity in the market especially headed into the holiday season. The common refrain we’re hearing is to shop early and be prepared but if other carriers follow suit and compound the delays, Christmas morning might have to wait a few weeks.

Melodramatic? Maybe. But the idea that these sailings aren’t massively important to forwarders and retailers and can just be blanked is staggering. According to The Loadstar, “Maersk and MSC, the 2M partners, have cancelled four scheduled Asia-North Europe loops in weeks 39 and 40, thereby removing some 70,000 teu of capacity from the route.”

The reason 2M gave for the blanks is to enhance schedule reliability, a lofty goal in the current situation. The good side is that with no cargo coming out of the blanked sailings, there will be a bit more room in the over-congested European ports. While all ports, sea, rail, and air etc., need some breathing room, the crush of waiting cargo in Asia will create further issues even as ports catch up.

Maersk hasn’t confirmed the blanked sailings yet, but MSC is preparing their customers by providing alternate routings to placate the uproar we expect to see. It wouldn’t surprise us if next week we update this story to say 2M cancelled the blanked sailings or more carriers followed suit and blanked their own sailings. Both scenarios are equally likely and both will have far-reaching ramifications. Every straw in logistics is another broken back.

Luckily for our clients, Nelson International has decades of experience working with ocean carriers. From our perspective, we still need advance notice and flexibility, but with that, we can ensure your cargo is moving even if we have to look at different carriers or voyages. We have options. We have tight partnerships with carriers who are working hard to meet the demand for ocean equipment and drayage. If you’re looking for solutions for the holiday season, reach out to your Nelson International representative to hear how we’re making your logistics plan stronger.