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China Holidays and Peak Season Approach

We hope everyone is travelling well and looking forward to the onset of Spring.  Our Sales Director, Glen Hall, provides this update as the peak season approaches.
It’s a month out from National Holidays in China and we are starting to see space and pricing pressures impact the Far East Market. Rates during the first half of the year and into July were again at low levels, however carriers started to see increased bookings in August and their forecasts for September and October indicate strong liftings.  Carriers are confident in their forecasts and at this point there are no plans to blank any sailings during peak season months.
Unfortunately, the tightening of space results in increases to freight rates.  September general cargo rates have been released and there are increases, as would be expected at this time of year.  ACA International procuring department in China and Australia has worked hard to mitigate increases and also to attach our pricing with minimum allocation to ensure we have as smooth a load programme as possible during the lead up to China national holidays.  
While carrier’s have not released any blanking programmes, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be scheduling impact or short notice blank sailings (*see note below).  Recent Typhoons in Hong Kong and Southern China have delayed schedules or reduced the time vessels remain in port and in some cases port have been omitted.   As mentioned while there are no blanking announcements, carriers at short notice may announce a vessel blanking, particularly in the week coming out of the National Holidays.
There has also been some backlog building in the South East Asian ports of Singapore and Port Kelang. There has been some recent vessel connection issues with the largest consortium, the AAA consortium, having vessels sail earlier than scheduled from Singapore to Australia resulting in connection issues for West and East bound feeders. This has caused a backlog to form on the AAA service, offering the fastest sailings down from India Sub continent, Thailand, Indonesia and other ports using Singapore and Port Kelang as a hub.  We are assessing this and using other consortiums where necessary to avoid any delay. It is expected the backlog could be around for the next couple of weeks.
As with last season ACA International will continue to manage pricing and space to limit the impact to all our customers.  Our Customer Service and Sales team will keep you up to date on any changes to shipping schedules and pricing.
To assist with planning week to week through the peak season our CS and Sales team will be speaking to you about your forecast and how we can, if possible, bring forward bookings or at times delay to reduce the impact of any vessel backlogs or vessel space restrictions .
We will provide you with an update at the start of each month and of any other time during the month where events dictate an update.
China National Holidays (Golden Week)
This year our offices will be closed:
1 - 8 October for Mid-Autumn Festival and National Holiday.  However, Saturday 30 September will be a working day.
Hong Kong
2 and 5 October only
4 October for Mid-Autumn Festival and 7 - 10 October for National Holiday
If you have any questions please reach out to your sales or customer service contact, they stand ready to assist.
Glenn Hall
Director Sales


*Note: Blank sailing
Blank sailing is a term that means a sailing has been cancelled.
Consortiums or shipping lines create blank sailings by omitting sailings that were previously scheduled to reduce capacity and increase freight rates.
In some cases, ports may be omitted because they are experiencing severe congestion or delays due to labour strife, weather, or other factors that could cause a carrier to skip that port to keep the rest of the sailing on schedule. A ship may need repairsthat prevent it from completing its scheduled sailing.
A blank sailing could mean a sailing skips one specific port (while still traversing the rest of the scheduled route) or the entire sailing being cancelled.