Carriers increase blank sailings ahead of Golden Week

We are now three weeks away from Golden Week, China’s national holiday when factories close, and production slows down. Container demand to and from Asia declines substantially, and to balance supply and demand, carriers increase the number of blank sailings.

Since our last market update two weeks ago, in which we mentioned carriers implementing additional blank sailings, 47 more blank sailings have been announced since then across the Transpacific and Asia-Europe trades.

According to an analysis by Sea Intelligence, carriers seem to have already achieved historical capacity reduction targets ahead of Golden Week. Considering the current drop in demand, carriers may implement a few more blank sailings before Golden Week, but these are unlikely to be significant at this stage.



  • Carriers are reducing October sailings from Asia to Europe below demand levels to better balance demand and supply before the slow season. 
    • Blank sailings have been announced by members of three alliances for both North Europe and the Mediterranean, around the Chinese Golden Week holiday in October.
    • Hapag-Lloyd, as part of THE Alliance, mentioned cancelled sailings due to forecasted reductions in demand for the FE2, FE3, and FE4 loops to North Europe.


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe and the US, rates are increasing this week. 
    • Space is tight  to Europe and the demand for electronic products continues to increase. 
    • Rates are not expected to decrease until the end of the month. 
    • However, space to ORD and LAX has become more available.
  • From NGB to Europe and the US, rates have increased this week 
    • The final rate is offered on a case-by-case basis.

North China to USA and Europe:

  • From TSN to Europe and the US, Korean Airlines’ service is normal and space will resume to normal at origin.
    • Rates for Asiana flights have increased on these lanes. 
  • From PEK to Europe and the US, hot weather is currently causing loading issues. 
    • Major services from PEK to Europe include: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Air China, KLM, Air France, Japan Airlines.
    • Major services from PEK to the US include: Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Eva Air. 
  • From TAO to Europe and the US, space has become quite tight. 
    • Rates have increased on both lanes.

South China to USA and Europe:

  • From CAN to Europe and the US, rates are increasing as the market is in peak season. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From SZX to Europe, rates have remained stable, while to the US, rates have increased slightly. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From XMN to Europe, the market is stable and rates remain the same as last week. 
    • To the US, rates continue to increase as the heavy rain and typhoon has caused flight cancellations, making space quite tight. 


  • Container carriers are establishing new connections from Indian east coast ports to capitalise on the region’s growing manufacturing development due to trade diversification.
    • A noticeable trend is emerging with more calls at new private terminals operated by the Adani Group instead of the traditional choice of Chennai as the focal point of the east coast corridor.
    • For example,  CMA CGM recently started offering direct sailings to North Europe by adding a call at Adani’s Ennore Terminal to its Nemo service, increasing competition in the market.
    • Ennore, located just 15 miles north of Chennai, has better highway connectivity for cargo truck transportation. Kattupalli, also close to Chennai, offers direct trucking and intermodal systems.
    • HMM has shown interest in using Kattupalli as a hub for its Indian network, extending its intra-Asia loop to connect Indian cargo to the Mediterranean.
  • DP World has signed a concession agreement with the Deendayal Port Authority to develop a mega-container terminal in Kandla, Gujarat, India’s western coast.
    • The project, costing approximately $510 million, involves constructing the box terminal at Tuna-Tekra near the existing Deendayal Port through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
    • The completed terminal, expected in 2027, will have a capacity of 2.19 million TEUs per year, advanced equipment, and a 1,100 m berth capable of handling large vessels carrying over 18,000 TEUs, with the possibility of extending the berth to 1,375 m.
    • The terminal will connect to the hinterland through various transportation networks, supporting logistics demands from Northern, Western, and Central India.




  • U.S. West Coast ports have increased their market share in August compared to the previous month.
    • This has happened after the US West Coast reached a labour deal with the ILWU this summer. 
    • During the labour talks, West Coast ports had been losing market share for over a year as shippers diverted cargo to East Coast and Gulf of Mexico ports.
    • In August, the biggest West Coast ports saw a 3.6% increase in market share from July, reaching 41.9%, while top East and Gulf Coast ports experienced a 3.3% decline, dropping to 43.1%.
    • It may be too early to determine if the West Coast labour deal directly influenced the August results, but there is an expectation that some of the 1 million TEUs that had previously left West Coast ports may return now that uncertainty has diminished.
    • The Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest historically, handled 12.9% more TEUs in August than in July, while the Port of Long Beach gained 12.1%.
    • On the East Coast, the Port of New York/New Jersey processed 6.3% fewer TEUs in August compared to July, and Savannah, Georgia’s port experienced an 11.4% drop.


  • European road freight spot prices have fallen below contract rates, a first in six years.
    • Some hauliers are reporting further price drops, with one UK-based operator experiencing a €150 rate reduction, according to Loadstar.
    • The International Road Transport Union (IRU) warns against distractions from addressing long-standing issues like driver shortages.
    • The UK’s driver shortage may provide a short-term reprieve as some European drivers consider opportunities in the UK due to better pay.
    • UK rates have held steady, and owner operators note steady rates and volumes despite shifts in supply and demand.

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.


Sep 11 – Spain*

Sep 15 – Slovakia, Spain*

Sep 18 – Switzerland*

Sep 20 – Germany*

Sep 21 – Malta

Sep 22 – Bulgaria

Sep 24 – Austria*

Sep 25 – Switzerland*

Sep 27 – Belgium*, North Cyprus

Sep 28 – Czech Republic

Oct 1 – Cyprus, San Marino

Oct 3 – Germany

Oct 5 – Portugal

Oct 9 – Spain*

Oct 10 – Austria*

Oct 12 – Spain

Oct 23 – Hungary

Oct 26 – Austria

Oct 28 – Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece

Oct 30 – Ireland (Eire)

Oct 31 – Germany*, Slovenia

Nov 1 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany*, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

Nov 2 – Belgium*, Lithuania

Nov 4 – Finland, Sweden

Nov 9 – Spain*

Nov 11 – Austria*, Belgium, France, Poland

Nov 15 – Austria*, Belgium*

Nov 17 Friday Czech Republic, Slovakia

Nov 18 – Croatia, Latvia

Nov 20 – Latvia

Nov 22 – Germany*

Nov 30 – Romania

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

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