Declining consumption, a situation that has been observed for several months now, is leading to overstocking, particularly in the West, lower freight rates and a supply of space on ships that outstrips demand. This situation is forcing shipping lines to react.
GOLDEN WEEK : THE DECISIVE FACTOR
The sharp drop in global consumption is having a major impact on international trade in consumer goods, and China, considered the world's factory, is de facto impacted by this situation. Faced with declining trade, the Moon Festival combined with Golden Week, which takes place from September 29 to October 6, 2023, will accentuate the phenomenon. Initially known to experience a drop in activity during this event, notably due to the week-long closure of factories and businesses, shipping companies have anticipated the situation and announced blank sailing.
Shipowners such as Maersk, MSC and Hapag Lloyd have already announced capacity reductions and ship cancellations on most shipping routes. Major routes such as Asia-North Europe and Asia-North America are also affected.
Blank sailing is scheduled to start at the beginning of October, with no planned end in sight. As the global situation is not expected to change between now and the end of the year, importers still have large stocks to sell. We can therefore expect the situation to persist.
It should be noted that the overcapacity of vessels is not going to end any time soon, as the container ship orders placed by shipping lines in previous years will soon be delivered. While some vessels will be replacing those that do not meet IMO standards (see our article on OMI Regulations), supply will still be very high. Blank sailing helps to limit this.
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