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How the FMC monitors ‘blank sailings’ and their competitive impacts

The coronavirus pandemic has made the schedule-driven ocean container carriers seasick. To counter decreased U.S. import volumes and maximize vessel operations, these companies have resorted to the use of “blank,” or canceled, sailings.

Shippers and non-vessel-operating common carriers have struggled to manage their own fragile supply chains against hundreds of skipped-sailings announcements in recent months.

While blank sailings offer ocean container carriers a means to economize their capital-intensive vessel operations, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) said it will continue to closely monitor this activity for anticompetitive behavior.

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