A blank sailing (a void sailing) is a sailing that has been canceled by the carrier. A blank sailing could mean a vessel is skipping one port, or that the entire string is canceled.
A string is a set of ports served weekly by a carrier. For example, one string might be: Shanghai > Ningbo > Los Angeles > Oakland > Shanghai. The string moves in a circular direction but always along the same schedule of ports with a fixed departure day of the week set for each port.
Why do blank sailings happen?
Blank sailings happen for a couple of reasons:
When demand for space on vessels is low. Carriers can ensure that vessels are full and rates stay up when fewer sailings are available. Demand for space on vessels is low following holidays like Golden Week and Chinese New Year after factories have been closed, so it’s common to see blank sailings during these times.
When carriers are changing the number of strings per week. If the carrier plans to cut down from 10 weekly Shenzhen > L.A. sailings to 5 weekly sailings, blank sailings will occur during that transition time. Strings are also rescheduled when new ocean alliances are formed.
How do blank sailings affect your shipment?
If your cargo was booked on a sailing that has been canceled, it will be rescheduled to move on the next available sailing.