Container shipping companies are incorporating empty voyages to equalize supply amidst decreased demand.

Container lines are adding empty trips to balance supply with lower demand
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Shipping lines are adjusting their supply to align with lower demand during Asia’s upcoming Golden Week holiday in early October, according to a report by Sea-Intelligence. The holiday sees factories closing and container demand in the region falling. To accommodate this, shipping lines are canceling sailings and planning more empty trips on key routes. The report shows that planned capacity reductions on various routes have increased significantly, with reductions ranging from 14.1% to 21%. Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, stated that these adjustments mean shipping companies are on track to match the capacity levels seen in previous years.

In their analysis, Sea-Intelligence highlights that airlines have not made plans to meet the hidden capacity demand necessary to reach pre-pandemic levels during Golden Week 2023. The report reveals that shipping lines have planned 29 more empty trips on the transpacific route and 18 more on the Asia-Europe route. These additional cancellations reflect the industry’s efforts to align supply with a decrease in container demand during the holiday period.

Overall, shipping companies are expected to empty their shipping capacity in line with averages from 2019 and the years 2017-2019, according to the Sea-Intelligence report. The adjustments in capacity and cancellations of sailings aim to balance supply and demand during Golden Week and ensure efficient operations for shipping lines.

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