Over 50 blank sailings from Asia to Europe in the first seven weeks of 2023

A total of 53 Asia to Europe Westbound sailings have been cancelled in the first seven weeks of the year across the three carrier alliances which represents 27% of their original scheduled capacity. 

If demand is expected to weaken after Chinese New Year, carriers may decide to blank more sailings to manage demand and supply.

The Ocean Alliance has blanked 23% of their Asia-Europe voyages scheduled from 1st January to 17th February. The 2M Alliance has blank 24% of their sailings in the seven-week period and the Alliance have removed 36% of their sailings during the same time period. 

We advise that you work with your freight forwarding partner to ensure that your cargo has not been affected by the blank sailings.



  • A recent survey by Container xChange discovered that 73% of supply chain specialists believe that holiday factory closures and COVID outbreaks in China during the Chinese New Year holiday will be disruptive to supply chains. 
    • This figure surpassed the 66% who had the same view in 2022.  Most respondents think that increased port congestion and delays and delayed container journeys will hold the most significant impact after China reopens. 
    • Container XChange have also said that ‘we cannot see Chinese New Year in isolation but in combination with all these challenges’, which also include China coping with rising Covid infections due to a reversal in their zero-Covid policy. 
    • And, according to Cathy Morrow Roberson, founder and president of Logistics Trends & Insights LLC, Chinese New Year in 2023 differs compared to previous years as inventory levels are high and inflation has affected demand. 


  • Cathay Pacific Airlines will double its flights to mainland China and increase its belly capacity as China has eased pandemic restrictions.
    • From January 8th, flights are permitted from Hong Kong and Macau to China with passenger load restrictions and quarantine lifted. 
    • In light of this, Cathay Pacific is actively adding more flights progressively in the coming weeks with the aim of operating over 100 return flights per week by March 2023.
    • The airline has increased its flights between Hong Kong and Beijing to 10 pairs per week and between Hong Kong and Shanghai to 21 pairs a week. 
    • Cathay Pacific is also resuming flights to Guangzhou with five return flights per week.


  • The Port of Houston has announced that the import dwell fee goes into effect from 1st February.
    • The $45 will be charged per unit per day starting on the eighth day after the expiration of free time. 
    • The fee will be implemented on top of demurrage charges for loaded import containers. 
    • The fee has been implemented to maintain fluidity at the Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals.


  • In Rotterdam, the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) negotiations are taking place at APMT Maasvlakte II and Star Depot terminals. 
    • The next round of negotiations is scheduled for 26th January as discussions take place between unions and terminals.
    • Maersk have announced that their teams are monitoring the situation and have put contingency plans in place.


  • Brussels airport handled nearly 776,000 tonnes of cargo in 2022.
    • This is an 8% drop in volumes compared to 2021 but a 16% increase compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic levels).
    • In the full freighter segment, there was a 13% decrease in volumes compared to the same period in 2021.
    • However, belly cargo increased by 27% compared to 2021 levels due to an increase in the number of passenger flights. 
    • Cargo volumes were under pressure all year due to ongoing geopolitical tensions, lockdown restrictions in China and the threat of a recession.
  • According to the Port of Gothenburg, North Europe’s container hub ports are expecting weak import volumes from Asia through the year. 
    • Clear indications towards the end of 2022 and the initial trend of weak January import volumes from Asia in 2023 suggests a further decline through the year. 
    • Shippers are still faced with full warehouses and lower demand which has resulted in reduced transport requirements.


  • Last week, Dover ferry operators diverted customers onto ferries to Dunkirk to avoid the disruption caused by industrial action in France.
    • Industrial action in France has caused the closure of the Port of Calais last Thursday. 
    • This forced DFDS to cancel all its Dover-Calais services and Sheerness-Calais crossing and P&) Ferries to suspend all but two of its sailings between Dover and Calais.
    • However, shippers were redirected to Dunkirk and sailings have been running continuously, taking some of the Calais traffic. 


  • The UK Government is looking to extend a 5 pence cut in the price of petrol and diesel for another year.
    • In March 2022, the Government cut fuel duty by 5 pence per litre in response to the rise in pump prices. 
    • There is potential that the UK Government will continue with this freeze which can help to avoid extra unnecessary costs being placed on road operators. 

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.

January  23 – Romania

January  24 – Romania 

February  6 – Ireland

February  8 – Slovenia

February 10 – Malta 

February 16 – Lithuania

February 20 – Luxembourg*

February 21 – Portugal*, Spain* 

February 28 – Spain

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

The information that is available in the Weekly Market Update comes from a variety of online sources, partners and our own teams. Click below to learn more about how Zencargo can help make your supply chain your competitive advantage.

Get In Touch