Carriers Respond to US West Coast Port Congestion with Increased Blank Sailings

In a reaction to the historical high level of congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, carriers are increasing blank sailings and port omissions. While the overall global market is expected to be strong through Chinese New Year, blank sailings will continue well into 2022.

It has been reported by shipping industry analysts that the weekly average of blank sailings during the first nine months of 2021 was 7.7 per week, however this increased to 12 blank sailings per week during the fourth quarter.

Labor shortages and other landside problems continue to distress both Long Beach and LA ports which are two of the main causes for the increase in blank sailings.

“It’s not surprising that carriers are canceling trans-Pacific sailings when they know the US West Coast ports are struggling with capacity. Continuous congestion related to the Covid-19 pandemic is clogging the container shipping supply chain,” said Joe Monaghan, President and CEO of Worldwide Logistics Group.

The latest news from the ports indicate there were 70 container ships in port in the Los Angeles Long Beach complex as of last Friday with 41 at anchor and another 29 at berth. Vessel wait time is up to 30 days.

Blank Sailings to Continue into 2022

With no sign of an end to global demand for goods and personal consumption in the US reaching record levels as of late, blank sailings are predicted to continue into the new year.

“Space will remain tight up to and through the Lunar New Year and shippers will react with continued blank sailings,” said Mr. Monaghan. “Unprecedented times means unprecedented reactions across the broad spectrum of the supply chain.”

Six cancellations a week on the trans-Pacific during the first five weeks of 2022 is expected.

“The congestion at the US West Coast ports continues,” said Mr. Monaghan. “Worldwide Logistics is seeing the congestion spread to the US East Coast ports as well and we predict it’s likely to become worse in the next coming weeks especially in Charleston and Savannah.”

Worldwide Logistics Group is always monitoring the supply chain industry changes and will continue to share shipping industry news on an ongoing basis. For additional information, contact your representative.