Shipping Lines Continue - Blank Sailing Strategy - What It Means for you and the impact in 2020


To all our Valued Customers


When shipping via sea freight, a blank sailing is when a vessel doesn't sail.


To be clear blank sailings as we know is an aggravation for all of us and at best an additional expense alongside a load of problems especially when it effects the required delivery date.


What is a blank sailing? - Blank Sailing Definition


A blank sailing is the term used to describe when a ship doesn’t sail; to be more specific, when there’s a cancelled sailing. A blank sailing could mean a vessel skipping one port along the route, or the entire journey being cancelled.


What this normally means for you is that you will be advised that your goods are going to board a vessel at a particular time only to then find out that the vessel isn’t even taking on goods.


Why does a blank sailing happen?


There are many possible reasons for a blank sailing to occur – such as a change in port arrival, not enough space on a vessel, last minute route changes etc – but most commonly a blank sailing happens so that shipping lines can reduce capacity and try and place pressure on freight rates at that time.


Although the typical reason for a blank sailing is to reduce capacity and increase the rates, there are other reasons that a blank sailing could occur.


A vessel could be behind schedule and need to make up the lost time by skipping a port; the shipping lines always have the ability to pull a ship from the route in favour or another “more important” sailing.


In addition to this, the ship could need to stop for repairs, or not have enough crew available to operate it.


The COVID-19 Virus is clearly adding problems to crew number and safe working environments at this time


Also a blank sailing can occur because the port your goods are at is running inefficiently for any reason (extreme congestion, not having enough people on hand, bad weather, etc.).


This is because the shipping line could decide that stopping at the port could delay the vessel’s journey.


Therefore, at complete disregard to all of us shipping lines will pull vessels and miss out ports to save time and money themselves.


While we work through this unprecedented time (COVID-19) we can see that the shipping lines are stepping up the blank sailing program


We expect the 2020 calendar year to be an extremely tough time for all importers and it will continue post COVID 19


Space will be limited and heavily restricted by the shipping lines so we would continue to recommend that you add 7-14 days to your into store date through to end of 2020


If you have any questions please contact your assigned Customer Service Representative for assistance. 


Keeping you updated,

BRI Customer Solutions Team


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