North American demand for Asian imports continues to decline due to fears of an economic recession and inventory corrections by retailers. This has caused an increase in idle ships and blank sailings, as shipping companies remove capacity and attempt to keep rates up.
Alphaliner reports that there were 284 inactive container ships at the end of October, representing 1.2 million TEU or 4.6% of the global container fleet. During the peak of demand in Feb 2022, there were 154 inactive ships representing just 1.8% of the global fleet. Sea-Intelligence Marine Analysis reports that as of Nov 4, carriers were blanking 450,000 TEU of Trans-Pacific capacity in November. This volume represents 17.1% of total capacity, which is up from 7.1% in October.
One of the implications for Canadian exporters is a potential lack of empty containers in the coming months, especially on the West Coast.
1) Carriers consider laying-up box ships as blanking fails to prop up rates, The Loadstar, Nov 3, 2022. Accessed Nov 14, 2022.
2) Trans-Pac blank sailings accelerate as demand withers: Sea-Intelligence, Journal of Commerce, Nov 8, 2022. Accessed Nov 14, 2022.