Report: Liner schedules only 57 percent reliable
Only 57 percent of all liner vessels arrived on schedule between December and April, according to an ongoing survey conducted by Drewry Shipping Consultants, a maritime consulting firm based in London.
Drewry’s survey, which tracks 3,300 vessel arrivals on 23 different east/west and north/south trade routes, found the current percentage of liner vessel calls arriving on time during the period was 57 percent, with 22 percent of all vessels arriving the day after the scheduled day, 7 percent making it two days late and 12 percent of vessels calling at the port of arrival three or more days late.
“Of the 63 international liner carriers whose vessel schedule reliability we monitor, only 16 have on-time vessel arrivals of 60 percent or more,” said Philip Damas, lead researcher at Drewry. “This indicates that a large section of the industry still does not operate with the sort of predictable, reliable schedules which most shippers need.”
Drewry reported that Maersk Line and sister company Safmarine, together with Evergreen-subsidiary Hatsu Marine, scored the best for reliability among the major east/west carriers. The major east/west carriers with the lowest on-time schedule percentages are Mediterranean Shipping Co and China Shipping Container Lines.
“In the transpacific trade, regarded as a market where shippers are very demanding in terms of fast and reliable transit times, we found that seven West Coast of North America weekly services and three East Coast of North America weekly services had on-time arrivals of less than 30 percent,” Damas said.
According to Drewry’s survey, the following routes experience some of the highest vessel schedule reliability: transpacific, Asia/Indian Subcontinent/Middle East, North America mainland/Hawaii/Guam and the South American East and West Coasts trades to and from both Europe and North America. The routes with the lowest percentage of on-time vessel arrivals (less than 40 percent) include: Europe/Africa, North America/Africa and Europe/Caribbean/Central America with transit time delays of up to fours days typical.
Drewry said that low schedule reliability can be partly explained by trade-specific conditions, such as port congestion in many African ports. “However, the survey found that, within the same trade route, schedule reliability scores also vary considerably, depending on the individual service and individual carrier,” Drewry said. For example, the recent switch of vessels caused by A.P. Moller-Maersk’s acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd led to schedule disruption to both Maersk Line and Grand Alliance services.
“Drewry contends that most liner carriers have not included in their weekly schedules sufficient buffer time for contingencies, such as bad weather and port delays, and that some lines regard buffer time as too expensive,” Drewry said.
“To protect the integrity of their supply chains, Drewry is urging shippers, before they use additional carriers or import from new sourcing areas, to consider the schedule reliability levels of different carriers and the varying levels of delays of the trade route concerned.”