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Initially, analysts predicted that blanked sailings would subside after Lunar New Year, but new predictions push the slump past the Spring Festival and well into the end of the first quarter before improving. Vessel sharing alliances have blanked more than 27% of their sailings connected to Asia, prompting shippers who are concerned about inventory to begin planning ahead for spring. 


Despite numbers being low for the start of 2023, the expected swell of cargo due post Lunar New Year doesn’t look to be materializing as predicted. As carriers pull capacity out of the market to balance the reduction in cargo, the prices in freefall will be artificially bolstered. More carriers’ blanked sailings could lead to issues in the summer as shippers and retailers search for space when the back-to-school cargo begins floating. If, unexpectedly, much like the pandemic, the desire for imports climbs, the ability of the carriers to get cleared of cargo waiting due to blanked sailings could upend future shipments. 


An issue we’ve seen play out in all directions since 2020 is capacity tweaks to fit the supply to the demand. One wrong move can cause a ripple effect that will span years to be corrected. Though we expected the pandemic to end the need to remind people that a skilled logistics planner is a requirement in a global market, once again, we’re seeing warning signs regarding the capacity manipulation. 


What we’ve learned in the last eight decades is:


  • Big ports like LA/LB are made to take a tidal wave of freight and while they can get bogged down with ships queued for service, they catch up much faster than smaller, slower ports that aren’t prepared for a deluge. 
  • Blanked sailings are a warning sign that carriers are reducing capacity in the event of falling demand, so critical space needs should be booked and planned well in advance to avoid rolled cargo due to those capacity cuts. 
  • A professional logistics service can see the curves coming and help you prepare inventory plans to weather future storms. 


When you work with Coppersmith, you have almost eighty years of experience behind you. Our knowledge is unparalleled, and the global network of our partnerships towers above the competition. If you want to make plans for your ocean cargo that can’t be equaled, contact your Coppersmith representative today.  

Bud Coppersmith

Author Bud Coppersmith

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