More than 2 million transpac trips ‘slip’ as ships still line up at USWC ports

© Denys Yelmanov

2M partners Maersk and MSC cut two scheduled transpacific calls, but the two lines offer different reasons.

Maersk said today that its TP6/MSC Pearl service would “slip” a week from its February 1 departure date outside Asia, and that the TP2/MSC Jaguar loop would also be delayed by a week from its announced navigation of February 14.

The Danish carrier said it was “given accumulated schedule delays” on its Asia-North America network, while MSC, which also halted four standalone trips between January 30 and February 14, gave the reason as “anticipated slowdown in demand”. around Chinese New Year.

“The change will help us match capacity with projected lower demand for shipping services,” MSC added.

This year, CNY in “the year of the tiger” falls on February 1, and normally the demand is weaker for a week or two after the holiday.

Additionally, there is still a huge backlog of ships waiting to berth in US West Coast ports, with around 500,000 teu of cargo to unload, and some ships have to wait over a month.

According to the Port of Los Angeles’ Signal data, as of the end of last week, there were more than 50 vessels idling 150 nautical miles from port, waiting for a berth, including the 12,726 teu YM Totality, which was held for almost 50 days.

A carrier source said The Loadstar this morning that although the reasons for the two “slips” given by Maersk and MSC were different, the goal was the same.

“I think carriers need to take a break; whether it’s through blank sails or slips, it doesn’t really matter. There is no point in sending more ships across the Pacific until some of the backlog is cleared,” he said.

Elsewhere, Ocean Alliance member lines CMA CGM, Cosco, OOCL and Evergreen have approved their new Day 6 network product to be launched in April. It will deploy 352 ships on 42 services, which compares to the 333 ships on Day 5 leaving for 39 services.

CMA CGM, which will supply 121 vessels, said the increased capacity and expansion of services would meet demand and “support its customers’ business”.

The annual adjustment of the Ocean Alliance network will, according to OOCL, “enhance the competitiveness of the Ocean Alliance product…to meet changing market needs”. In practice however, there do not appear to be any major changes to the Day 6 product compared to Day 5 and, according to the maritime intelligence firm eeSea’s analysis, some of the minor changes reflect improvements already introduced.

Additionally, with acute port congestion plaguing ship operations worldwide, pro forma schedules are subject to significant change, particularly in Northern Europe, where the OA has been forced to consolidate and streamline stopovers due to excessive berthing times in some ports.