Containership reliability ends 2014 on a downer


containerContainership reliability declined for the second month in a row in December, according to Drewry’s enhanced Carrier Performance Insight.

The latest data shows the aggregate on-time performance for the Asia-Europe, Transpacific and Transatlantic trades dropped to 58% in December, down from 62% in November and 64% in October.

December’s on-time performance was the worst since August (55%) with the monthly decline the result of weaker reliability across all three trades.

Reliability in the Asia-Europe trade (7,475 voyages tracked) declined by 4.5 points month-on-month to 64.3%. In the Transpacific (3,826 voyages), the on-time performance dropped 3.3 points to a new low of 47.4%, while Transatlantic (570 voyages) reliability also slumped to a nadir of 46.3%, down by 12.6 points.

Maersk Line was the most reliable carrier in the October-December period, recording a three-month average on-time performance of 80%, up three points on the previous quarter. In second place was Hamburg Süd with 75%, followed by COSCO on 70%.

The biggest improvement in the fourth quarter came from MOL, which gained 11 points to 60%, while MSC, one of the industry’s perennial under-performers, jumped by nine points to 61%. The improvement at MSC suggests that it is striving to meet the standards of Maersk, its partner in the new “2M” vessel sharing agreement that starts January 2015.

“The slower-demand winter season should ease some of the congestion pressures and allow for some improvement in container shipping reliability,” said Simon Heaney, Senior Manager of supply chain research at Drewry.

“Falling bunker prices should also help raise the on-time performance as carriers will face a lower fuel bill for speeding up ships that fall behind schedule. However, the introduction of new alliance service networks from the start of 2015 is a short-term risk to reliability as new schedules are phased in.”

Building on Drewry’s long established schedule reliability benchmarking that started back in 2005, the new Carrier Performance Insight provides the ability to benchmark the reliability performance of container carriers on a port-to-port, trade lane, service and industry-wide basis. This information is available via a user-friendly website powered by data from e-commerce platform CargoSmart.