2020 April 23 17:37

East/West head haul capacity down 17% Y/Y in May; global trade capacity for H1 2020 already cut by 12.9% Y/Y - eeSea

New analysis conducted by maritime intelligence company eeSea has revealed the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on global container shipping capacity.

According to the latest data - updated daily - a total of 302 of 2,693 sailings, or 11%, have been cancelled in May on all the main line trades.

In the first six months of 2020, a total of 1,675 sailings have been cancelled, or 11%; which comes out at 13% for 2M, 17% for Ocean Alliance and 17% for THE Alliance, while only 8% of non-alliance sailings have been cancelled.

However, the number of sailings alone only tells part of the story. Commenting on the numbers, Simon Sundboell, CEO and Founder of eeSea, said:

“Understandably, ‘blank sailings’ are the talk of the town among container shipping and supply chain professionals these days. But to truly understand the impact, you need to look beyond the daily trickle of carrier advisories and the number of cancelled sailings. Instead, you need to look at the reduction of container shipping capacity and the pattern that is forming for the weeks and months ahead.”

eeSea produces these numbers globally, for all trades, services and carriers, down to a daily port departure level.

Says Simon Sundboell: “If I were a shipper in Asia or a buyer in Europe, this is the number that is critical to my business, including whether my shipments could be at risk; and how to plan contingencies.”

The other benchmark head haul trade, Far East to Europe westbound, shows similar capacity reductions. Details are outlined in the appendix below; of note, however, is that in June Ocean Alliance will overtake 2M as the largest alliance on the trade lane for the first time since Oct 2019.

Carriers and ports are likewise offered these numbers for benchmarking purposes.

“A lot is happening these days, and it can be hard to keep a tab on it. This is why we at eeSea track it all in real-time. We map blanked - or ‘void’ - sailings, as well as discontinued and suspended services, as soon as the announcements are made. Sometimes announcements aren't made, so we also track the carriers’ schedules frequently and discover unannounced blank sailings.”
Per April 22, the status on the major trade routes is as follows:

FAR EAST - EUROPE HEAD HAUL (Med + Northern Europe)

FAR EAST - NORTH AMERICA HEAD HAUL (East + West coasts, inc. Suez service)

Accounting for variations in vessel capacities between services, as well as taking into account entirely ceased services (beyond blanked voyages and temporarily suspended services), the resulting reductions in capacity offers a similar picture. However, the critical information is in the detail.

On, for example, the Far East - North America eastbound head haul (including Suez services), the actual deployed vs proforma capacity ratio, after blanks and suspensions, for May is 80% - almost as big a reduction as the February ratio of 71%. YoY (Year-on-Year), including discontinued services, the reduction in May is 21%.

About eeSea
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Copenhagen, eeSea is a maritime and supply chain intelligence company, offering unbiased visibility and predictive analysis for the global container shipping industry.