In addition, overall performance of container ports increased by 1.4% during the month of May.
The weekly blank sailings tracker (itinerary cancellations) of Drewry indicates that in the main maritime routes (Trans-Pacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe and Mediterranean) have been announced 100 trips canceled between weeks 31 and 35, of a total of 756 scheduled itineraries, representing a cancellation rate of 13%. During this period, 68% of cancellations will be made on the Transpacific route heading east.
Within five weeks of this, 2M has announced 30 cancellations, followed by THE Alliance and Ocean Alliance with 25 and 21, respectively.
High inventory levels in the West, particularly in North America, combined with inflation and the risk of additional blockades in China, held back demand for Chinese products. Shippers and cargo beneficiaries are apparently waiting to see how things develop in the coming weeks before placing new orders.
In Europe, container hubs facing high density in their yards are struggling to pull units off their docks, while labor shortages in Germany and the UK due to port and rail strikes, as well as high port congestion in Rotterdam and Hamburg, are increasing pressure on an already overloaded market.
Flow of containers in ports
On the other hand, the Drewry Global Port Performance Index increased by 1.4% in May 2022 to 143.4 points, the highest level since June 2021. While volumes increased monthly, the annual comparison was neutral at 0,1 % year-on-year.
Despite Covid’s blockages until May, China was the main driver of global performance growth, contributing about 70% of the overall monthly increase, offsetting shortfalls in other parts of Asia and modest growth in other regions. Two of the three main ports, Ningbo and Qingdao, experienced double-digit annual growth in May 2022. After a 25% drop in April 2022, Shanghai also began to gain volumes on May 22 and witnessed an intermediate growth of 10%.
North America saw annual (1.4 per cent) and monthly (2.5 per cent) growth in May 2022. The port of Savannah handled record volumes and crossed the half-million TEUs mark for the first time in May 2022, due to an increase in imports and delays in west coast ports that have led cargo beneficiaries to divert their imports to the east coast.
It is worth mentioning that the Drewry container port performance indices are a series of calendar-adjusted volume growth/decline indices based on monthly performance data for a sample of more than 235 ports worldwide, which represents more than 75% of global volumes.