Ship and container reliability levels in the third quarter of 2013 were “disappointing,” according to Drewry Maritime Research’s recently published quarterly Carrier Performance Insight report.
Container ship reliability dipped below 70 percent for the first time since the beginning of 2012, as weaker performances in the Asia trades to and from Europe and the Middle East and Indian subcontinent region contributed to a quarter-to-quarter decline of 1.4 percentage points to 69.5 percent. The result represents the third consecutive quarterly drop in average on-time performance. Compared with the same quarter in 2012, the third quarter result was down by 1.5 points.
Data derived from e-commerce platform provider CargoSmart revealed that although shipments from the origin port were no worse than in the second quarter, the delays in cargo availability at the destination port were caused by lengthier than scheduled transit times at sea.
“Heading into the slower winter season, carriers have already announced a raft of missed or canceled voyages along with other service adjustments during the fourth quarter, which does not bode well for improvement in the short-term,” said Simon Heaney, research manager at Drewry, in a written statement.
For example, the G6 Alliance — comprising APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, NYK Line and OOCL — recently withdrew eight Asia-Europe sailings for the winter season.
“Reliability in the container shipping arena is on a worrying downwards trend, having made huge strides in the last couple of years,” Heaney concluded. “While carriers are rightfully looking to cut costs, they need to keep focus on delivering the service their customers demand.”
Despite recording a lower on-time performance in the third quarter compared to the second, Maersk Line regained the top slot as the most reliable carrier, as its nearest rivals all saw their scores drop further. Maersk achieved its position by recording an on-time performance across all trades covered of 79.3 percent in the third quarter, down 2.7 points from its score of 82.0 percent in the previous quarter. Its latest result means that Maersk has finished at the top of Drewry reliability rankings in 13 of the past 15 quarters.