The world’s biggest container shipping markets are contracting rapidly, says The Wall Street Journal. Ocean carriers are canceling dozens of sailings out of Asia to Europe and the U.S., in a sign of how volatility in economic demand is triggering a whiplash in the shipping sector.
The spate of cancellations in October marks a sharp reversal from a few months ago, when shipping lines commanded premium prices and booked record profits.
Retailers now are coping with excess inventories, and trans-Pacific shipping rates are down roughly 75% from year-ago levels. Xeneta and Sea-Intelligence say container capacity on the Pacific was down 13% last month.
A total of about 40 scheduled sailings from Asia to the U.S. over the next two weeks have been scrapped. The peak season is fading fast and carriers that had been scrambling to find capacity now are reversing course with even more urgency.
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