How double sailings intensify port congestion
Copenhagen-based maritime consultancy Sea Intelligence recently analysed the impact of double sailings in the booming deep sea container shipping market. This is when two or more vessels sail in the same week on the same service string.
What happens is that both the ports of origin and destination are placed under higher strain in the week the two vessels arrive. Under normal market conditions, such shifts would be of limited market impact, as ports are able to absorb such fluctuations, but since many ports are now severely congested, they don't have such buffers.
Sea-Intelligence measured the development in double-sailings as a rolling three-week average. On the Asia-North American West Coast trade, the analysts found that from 2012 to mid-2020, the norm was to have an average of two such double-departures in the trade per week, and hence presumably ports are able to handle this. In late summer 2020 there was a rapid escalation to around five to six double departures and an increase to 13 in mid-June 2021.
CEO Alan Murphy: "The share of double departures in July-September 2021 abates somewhat, but this is because the operational changes leading to double-departures often happen relatively close to vessel departure, and hence the share could further increase." The Asia-North American East Coast trade is experiencing a similar trend. (cd)