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Schedule reliability has a poor start in 2015

Congestion on the US West Coast and implementation of alliance networks meant that 2015 kicked-off with an all-time record low schedule reliability, according to SeaIntel’s latest industry-leading Global Liner Performance report. On-time performance decreased to 67.8 per cent in January (based on 10,762 vessel arrivals), from 71.2 per cent in December. Data from INTTRA shows that container delivery declined to 49.1 per cent, based on nearly 3 million container arrivals.

The decline in schedule reliability means that 2015 starts out slightly lower than 2014 did, but significantly lower than both 2012 and 2013. "There is no doubt that shippers during 2014 have experienced considerable lower on-time performance than in 2012 and 2013, and 2015 does not show any improvements yet," said Mr Morten Berg Thomsen, shipping analyst at SeaIntel.

For the 6th consecutive month, Maersk Line, Hamburg Süd and CSAV were the most reliable carriers, with an on-time performance in January of 80.2 per cent, 80 per cent and 78.5 per cent, respectively. NYK, HMM, Hapag-Lloyd and ZIM managed to improve their scores in January, SeaIntel said.

"Global schedule reliability is a good indicator for the carriers’ overall on-time performance, but it can only be used as guidance. If a shipper wants to have the best possible service offering in the market he operates in, then the shipper needs to have access to accurate information on a trade lane level, irrespective of whether the shipment is from Asia to North Europe or East Coast South America to Asia, as carrier performance will vary widely between individual trade lanes," according to Mr Thomsen.

Reliability in the Transpacific EB trade lane (1,125 vessel arrivals) decreased for the sixth consecutive month to 42.5 per cent, while container delivery decreased to 26.7 per cent. Both scores represent a new record-low performance in the trade lane. During January, carriers experienced that vessel productivity across the West Coast continued to be at a very low level, which meant vessels were forced to anchor due to slow turn times in the ports. The consequence was that the backlog of anchored vessels continued to grow in Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In the Asia-North Europe trade lane (739 vessel arrivals) and the Asia-Mediterranean trade (750 vessel arrivals), on-time performance dropped to 68.6 per cent and 68.7 per cent, respectively.

Mr Thomsen added: "It is clear that congestion on the US West Coast continues to have a further negative effect on carriers’ on-time performance. There seems to be no end to how low schedule reliability can go, but it is clear that some carriers are better to cope with the challenges on the US West Coast than others. With the labour dispute in the West Coast ports seemingly resolved, we should expect to see an improvement in performance later in the year, but it will take several months before the backlog is cleared."

Source: Exim News Service: COPENHAGEN, March 1

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