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Solving Space Issues in Ocean Shipping

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Blog Post

Ocean shipping is a complex and challenging industry, and one of the biggest challenges is space issues. This can be caused by a number of factors, including blank sailings and low tide draft.

Blank Sailing

Blank sailing is when a shipping line or carrier decides to skip a particular port or an entire voyage of a scheduled sailing route. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as:

  • There is less demand for shipping space to that port. Blank sailing will help to control the demand and drive up the prices for shipping space.
  • The port is experiencing congestion. Blank sailing will help to avoid delays and ensure that the ship arrives on time.
  • The vessel needs repairs. Blank sailing will allow the vessel to be drydocked and repaired without disrupting the shipping schedule.

Draft Issues

Illustration of Ship Draft

In shipping, draft refers to the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull of a ship. It is a critical factor in determining the safe depth of water that a ship can sail in. Draft issues can occur when a ship’s draft is too deep for the water it is sailing in. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as:

  • The ship is carrying too much cargo.
  • The water is too shallow.
  • The ship has taken on water.

If a ship’s draft is too deep, it may not be able to sail safely. It may also run aground, which can cause damage to the ship and its cargo. For example, during low tide, the port of Haiphong would only allow ships with a maximum draft of 10 meters to berth in its port. Larger ships that may require at least a depth of 12 meters would not be able to berth in the port of Haiphong, leading to blank sailing and skipping the port. Cargos that are originally scheduled for a direct service with large ships at the Port of Haiphong to the US may need to consider alternative options if their scheduled ship will be skipping the port due to low tide.

Solutions to the Challenge

Cross Border Road Freight Solution Cross Border Road Freight

When the rates for direct services are high and there’s a high competition for space in at the port due to blank sailing, a solution would be to use cross-border road freight solution to the nearest port with lower chances of encountering blank sailing. In the previous example, the shipper can consider using road freight to move the container from Haiphong to Yantian to catch up to the mothership and ship to the USA. The movement of the cargo from Haiphong to Yantian will only take less than 2 days. A logistics specialist like Dimerco can help you move your freight via cross border road freight between Shanghai and Singapore, with connecting countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.


Looking to solve your space Issues?

It is critically important to identify a global logistics partner that can anticipate problems and prepare solutions to these problems. A global freight forwarder like Dimerco, with over 150+ offices worldwide, can help – particularly given its strategic focus on Asia-Pac logistics . Contact us now and find out more.