PortandTerminal.com, February 4, 2020
Maersk and CMA CGM announced blank sailings last Friday as the container lines see reduced demand due to the coronavirus outbreak in China and the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday
COPENHAGEN – Last Friday CMA CGM announced on its website that “due to recent demand deterioration on the Asia / North Europe trade caused by the Coronavirus and in order to maintain the high quality and reliability of its services, CMA CGM informs you about the following 3 additional void sailings“. All three blank sailings are on China/Europe routes.
Similarly, Maersk announced Asia to Europe blankings saying that “in relation to the Chinese New Year, we have seen a further reduction in demand due to the extended holiday period announced in China.”
China’s central government announced the extension on the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays till 9 February with a recommendation on work suspension and social activities restriction to contain the outbreak.
Feeling the pinch, some ports in China are offering deals. Seatrade Maritime News is reporting that 16 Chinese ports and port groups have started to offer exemptions and reductions in port charges as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak.
Not all carriers have announced blank or void sailings. “We don’t have any plans to blank sailings or omit ports,” a spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd told Supply Chain Dive. “But we are watching the developments closely and will decide on short notice.” ONE said in a customer advisory that other than ports in Hubei province, “vessels are still maintaining their normal port calls and operations.”
As of Tuesday, February 4th, there have been almost 21,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 99% of which are located in mainland China.
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