More blank sailings anticipated amid a weak rate market.

Despite recent increases on specific lanes, rates on the whole remain at a very low level compared to a year ago. In response carriers have been employing large blank sailing programmes to balance supply and demand and attempt to halt the rate erosion.

This is a trend which is expected to intensify as a huge amount of capacity, one article from The Loadstar predicting 2.4 million TEU to be delivered by Q1 2024, enters the market.  

This injection of capacity onto the market is happening at a time when a muted peak season is expected to add mounting downward pressure on rates.  As a result shippers should expect continued and expansive blank sailing programmes from carriers. Perhaps one silver lining can be found in recent schedule reliability figures, which have been steadily increasing and currently stand at around 67% on a global level. This indicates that, although blank sailings may be widespread, they are being announced earlier, with fewer last minute cancellations. 



  • Rates from China to the US saw an increase this week.
    • Rates from Asia to the US west coast grew by 24% according to Xeneta’s XSI.
    • Part of this increase has been attributed to the recent uncertainty on the Canadian west coast, as shippers divert shipments following the industrial action in British Columbia. 
  • New figures have revealed China’s post covid economic recovery has continued to be sluggish in Q2.
    • China’s GDP grew just 0.8% in Q2 slowing from 2.2% growth in Q1 this year. 
    •  Weak consumer spending in the US and Europe has resulted in lower demand for Chinese manufacturing, which analyst state has contributed to the slow recovery. 


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe rates and the US rates have remained stable.
    • C-Check’s (circraft compliance checks) have resulted in some flight rescheduling and cancellation however due to low cargo volume this hasn’t impacted rates.
  • From NGB to Europe rates have decreased while to the US rates have increased.
    • Final rate is offered on a case by case basis.

North China to USA and Europe 

  • From TSN to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week. 
  • From PEK to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week. 
    • Due to hot weather resulting in an off-load, most carriers are facing a flight split. 
  • From TAO to Europe rates have remained stable this week, while rates to the US have increased slightly.

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From CAN to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week. 
    • 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 decreased slightly.
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From XMN to Europe and the US rates have remained stable.
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.


  • As sustainability continues to transform the supply chain industry, there have been some recent developments in ports across the US.
    • The Port of San Diego has welcomed two new electric cranes into operation. These are the first of their kind in the US.  The cranes are the latest step in the port’s ambition to transition all cargo handling equipment to zero emission vehicles by 2030.
    • A new charging station for electric trucks has been installed at the Port of Long Beach. This is key infrastructure to support an industry shift to electric HGV vehicles. 
  • Drought conditions in the US are threatening inland waterway transportation
    • Water levels on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers have fallen, with further falls forecasted.
    • Both rivers are currently approaching the low stage classification where shipping lanes may need to be narrowed and risk of barges running aground increases.


  • The Port of Rotterdam has experienced a drop in throughput for H1
    • Total throughput for H1 at the port has fallen by 5.5% when compared to the same period last year.
    • While volumes have been decreasing, the rate of decline has been less severe in Q2 (-4.6 per cent in TEU) compared to the results after the first quarter of this year (-5.8 per cent in TEU).
    • This drop in throughput has been attributed to a challenging global economic environment and reduced consumer demand in Europe.

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.

July 25 – Spain*

July 28 – Spain*

Aug 5 – Croatia, Spain*

Aug 7 – Ireland (Eire)

Aug 14 – Romania*

Aug 15 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany*, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain

Aug 20 – Estonia, Hungary

Aug 29 – Slovakia

Sep 1 – Slovakia

Sep 2 – Spain*

Sep 4 – Luxembourg*

Sep 6 – Bulgaria

Sep 8 – Malta, Spain*

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

*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.

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