2M Alliance, the 10-year vessel-sharing partnership of shipping giants Maersk and MSC, has advised their North European customers that they have cancelled several Asia sailings in March. CMA CGM has also notified customers of void sailings.

Members of the Ocean and THE alliances are expected to announce a several blank sailings due to reduced demand on account of the Chinese New Year and the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The cancellations have caused concern amongst traders with letter of credit (L/C) obligations that may be difficult to meet with so many sailings blanked.

Minimise impact

Maersk explained the reasons for the cancellations in a customer advisory: "In connection with the Chinese New Year period, Maersk has endeavoured to balance our network to match reduced demand."

The company also said it would aim to minimise the impact on customers and provide customers predictability by making structural changes and securing alternative routings.

Costly and troublesome

But carriers have told The Loadstar news resource for the logistics industry that the blanked sailings are proving at least troublesome and some said that alternative routings were only being offered at an increased price.

Exporters with contracts to fulfil and L/Cs to comply with are unimpressed by what one described to The Loadstar as the "cavalier attitude" of carriers towards European exporters.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.