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An Unusual Chinese New Year

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: To clear backlogs and get empty containers back to Asia carriers are not implementing blank sailing programs after CNY.

Chinese New Year on 12 February will be very different than in other years as carriers are not implementing their usual blank sailings programs in the weeks following Chinese New Year. They will need to keep their vessels moving especially to the US and Europe where empty 40ft containers, that are so much needed in Asia, are piling up. The combination of high demand and COVID-19 mitigation measures have impacted and slowed down port operations.

As a result, around 50 vessels were anchoring outside Los Angeles/Long Beach, more than 30 being container vessels. Meanwhile the container congestion could build up in China as well and move inland as Chinese truck drivers are leaving for their Chinese New Year break although the government has urged Chinese citizens to refrain from travel this New Year. Since some local authorities have also implemented quarantine measures for people returning from other provinces, truck drivers are forced to leave earlier would they want to see their families this holiday.

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