Golden Week Vessel Cancellations: Maersk and MSC Navigate Seasonal Demand Fluctuations

Every year, China’s Golden Week brings about a significant shift in the global shipping landscape. This national holiday, celebrated with fervor across China, results in a substantial reduction in the workforce, leading to a corresponding decrease in shipping demand. In anticipation of these changes, major shipping giants Maersk and MSC have announced strategic adjustments to their vessel schedules for 2023.

Understanding the Impact of Golden Week

Golden Week, which spans the first week of October, is one of China’s longest public holidays. During this period, factories shut down, and production rates plummet, causing a ripple effect across global supply chains. Historically, the weeks leading up to Golden Week see a surge in shipping activities as businesses rush to get their goods out before the holiday begins. Conversely, the holiday week itself witnesses a lull, only to be followed by another surge as operations resume post-celebrations.

Maersk’s Proactive Approach

To address the anticipated drop in demand, Maersk has undertaken a series of structural changes to its shipping schedules. The company’s primary goal is to ensure supply chain predictability and cause minimal disruption to its customers before, during, and after Golden Week.

For instance, Maersk’s TP6 service, involving the vessel Maersk Emden / 339N, has its first port in Vung Tau with a proforma Expected Time of Departure (ETD) of Sep-28. Another significant change is for the TPX service, where the Maersk Colombo / 339N will not be sailing from Haiphong on Oct-01. Instead, cargo originally intended for this route will be rerouted to connect to TP2 MSC Beatrice 339N in Shanghai.

MSC’s Strategic Adjustments

Similarly, MSC, another titan in the shipping industry, has made adjustments in line with the expected demand fluctuations. The TP1 MSC Letizia / 340N, which was scheduled to depart from Xiamen on Oct-03, will now be blanked. However, to accommodate the cargo, MSC has arranged for it to be accepted on the subsequent TP1 sailing, MSC Utmost VIII 341N.

Flexport’s Insights on Golden Week

Flexport, a leading modern freight forwarder, has provided insights into the potential impacts of Golden Week on global shipping. The company has emphasized that while the holiday period might lead to reduced shipping activities, the subsequent weeks often witness a surge in demand. This post-holiday rush is a result of operations resuming at full capacity, leading to a backlog of shipments that need to be cleared.

Conclusion and Forward Outlook

Both Maersk and MSC have been proactive in communicating these changes to their clientele. They have expressed gratitude for the understanding, trust, and cooperation shown by their customers during this period. Both companies have also set up dedicated channels for customers to reach out to their local customer service or sales representatives for any queries or clarifications.

In the grand scheme of global shipping, Golden Week serves as a reminder of the intricate interplay between cultural events and global commerce. As China gears up for its celebrations, the rest of the world adjusts its sails, quite literally, to navigate the seasonal ebbs and flows. With meticulous planning, effective communication, and a deep understanding of global market dynamics, shipping giants like Maersk and MSC continue to ensure smooth operations, even in the face of significant demand fluctuations.


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