Just as container lines schedules from China seemed to be getting back to normal, the 2M Alliance has struck two Asia – Europe/Med sailings next week as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic starts to hit demand in western nations.
2M Alliance members Maersk and MSC announced they would be blanking the AE1/Shogun Asia – Europe service next week and the AE20/Dragon Asia – Mediterranean service. The services are being blanked in response to falling demand due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe which has resulted in widespread lockdowns.
Commenting on the AE1 service in a customer advisory Maersk said: “In relation to the COVID-19 effect in Europe, we have seen a further reduction in demand. Consequently, there will be a blank sailing of the AE1 service departing from Far East Asia in week 14 and returning from North Europe in week 19.”
The move comes as container lines schedules were returning to normal following an unprecedented number of blanked sailings on their core Asia – Europe and transpacific services at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in China.