Drewry, the London-based shipping consultants, said “cargo no-shows and phantom bookings are still a major headache for ocean carriers, particularly during the peak season.”
In this week's Container Insight Weekly
, Drewry reported even though some cargo booked from Asia to Europe was rolled at the beginning of July “some ships still sailed light due to last-minute booking cancellations.”
Carriers say contributing factors include “the ‘usual’ level of cargo no-shows being less than normal,” phantom bookings by “forwarders that foresee a strong market and try to reserve more than enough space for it in the hope of capturing new customers that may eventually be caught short.”
Drewry also noted “late cargo delivery cut-offs have become a highly competitive feature of most carriers’ sales strategy,” perhaps giving carriers less time to adjust if cargo fails to arrive for loading.
Drewry found in the first quarter only 72 percent of cargo was
successfully shipped on time, and gave a 70 percent preliminary estimate for the second quarter. It deemed a success to be when the
difference between the estimated date of shipment stated in the
original booking confirmation at the first load port and the
corresponding actual departure date is within a day.
But it noted it is difficult to quantify the problem, and notes booked cargo failing to arrive on time “can be due to a number of understandable reasons, including delays with intermodal transport, regulatory problems, unexpected production difficulties, container equipment shortages and feeder vessel schedule failures. If a connecting barge, train or feeder vessel gets held up somewhere, a lot of allocated deep-sea vessel space can end up not being used at the last minute.” - Chris Dupin