Container shipping lines boosted the reliability of their service schedules to a new record of on-time arrivals in the last quarter of 2011.
The industry hit an on-time average of 69 percent across all the trades covered by the latest Drewry’s Schedule Reliability Insight report. Maersk Line retained its position as the most reliable of the Top 20 carriers across all the trades covered by Drewry, followed by CKHY Alliance members Hanjin Shipping and Cosco Container Lines in second and third place, respectively.
The latest result was up by 6 percentage points over the previous quarter, meaning that schedule reliability has improved for three consecutive quarters. Carriers have only reached that level of reliability once before between fourth quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009, when demand was in the doldrums.
Despite the positive results, the report points out that when the previous record of 68 percent was set in the second quarter of 2009, it was followed a sharp deterioration in reliability.
“Shippers will be hoping that history does not repeat itself,” said Simon Heaney, researcher manager for Schedule Reliability Insight. “The two best on-time results have been set during periods of low freight rates, which reinforces the notion that reliability and price are not directly related to one other.
“However, there is evidence that continued periods of low, loss-inducing rates do eventually wear away at carriers’ motivation to maintain reliability. Their commitment to reliability will be tested this year as we do not expect to see huge rate hikes.”
The report also measured reliability by vessel size and operator. The standard reliability rankings include all services that a carrier offers space on regardless of whether they participate as a vessel operator or via a slot charter agreement.
The vessel operator-only rankings had Hanjin and Maersk on top again with on-time percentages of 91 percent and 90 percent, respectively.