Liners enter ‘peak pandemic’ period

Copenhagen-based container analysis firm Sea-Intelligence has warned liners to brace for “peak pandemic impact” over the next month, starting today.

The coming five weeks see the largest amount of capacity blanked on the main trade lanes, something that was flagged up earlier in the month by Rodolphe Saade, the head of French containerline CMA CGM. For Asia to the east coast of South America, Sea-Intelligence has tallied as much as 59% capacity removal.

As of yesterday, Sea-Intelligence has tracked 456 blank sailings as a consequence of the pandemic. For the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades alone, the amount of removed weekly carrying capacity increased by 300,000 teu last week to 3.4m teu.

Sea-Intelligence also warned in its latest Sunday Spotlight report that due to the multitude of blank sailings, liner shipping is now entering into a period where the export of full and empty containers from Europe to Asia will in certain weeks exceed the carrying capacity. Transpacific backhaul capacity is also tightening, but not to the same extent as Europe-Asia.

Splash readers in an ongoing poll suggest the container shipping segment will be the hardest hit of all shipping sectors, but also is likely to enjoy the quickest and sharpest rebound once the coronavirus recedes. Our coronavirus-themed MarPoll closes in just under a month and is already attracting record numbers of votes. To complete the vote takes as little as two minutes and there is no registration. To vote, click here.

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.


  1. ”…..has warned liners to brace for peak pandemic impact….”
    – Do liners really need to be warned of the effects of the pandemic in the coming weeks when they have already been dealing with nothing else for the past month and a half?
    Surely the major container shipping companies of the world have already figured out what is going on, what steps they need to take to deal with it and that there is still more of the same coming down the line, without being warned by a consultant?

  2. Martyn – Sea-Intelligence is tracking and measuring the extent the of the blank sailings, and provide the data showing what is going on. Whether someone wants to interpret this as a warning cannot be ascribed to Sea-Intelligence and they in this context “merely” provide the actual data.

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