Liners accused of blanking customers over reduced Golden Week sailings

The blank sailing tactics of the world’s leading liners have been attacked for their opaque, late announcements to clients.

The latest weekly report from Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence points out that alliances 2M and Ocean Alliance have just made public their blanked sailings for Golden Week, the Chinese national holidays in October, with just four weeks for clients to react.

The analysts at Sea-Intelligence said the late announcements  seem “unnecessarily slow and inconsiderate towards customers, and reeks of tactical game theory considerations, with the two largest alliances seemingly waiting for the other to make a move”. THE Alliance, by contrast, announced its plans for reduced voyages during the upcoming Chinese holidays in early August.

The situation is worsened by a lack of consistency among carriers over just how many sailings will actually be blanked with alliance partners APL and OOCL, for instance, showing different information while other liners have been criticised for not publishing the news more prominently, and worse still a host of Asian carriers – Cosco, Evergreen, ONE, and Yang Ming – simply have not published any advisories on their website.

“Considering just how disruptive blank sailings are, and how their use is viewed with great concerns by both cargo owners and regulators, there is no excuse for this horrendously poor communication. Even the least technically savvy carriers should be able to publish an ongoing, updated list of all blank sailings, and ensure alignment with their partners,” Sea-Intelligence stated.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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