Container ships arrived at their destination ports across the globe on time 73.7 percent of the time in December 2013, falling 7.7 percentage points from 81.4 percent in the previous month and marking the lowest schedule reliability in the last two years, according to the latest Global Liner Performance report from SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.
“It is not unusual that schedule reliability declines at this time a year,” said Alan Murphy, chief operating officer and partner at SeaIntel, in a written statement. Such a large drop in reliability, however, is “definitely unusual,” he said.
Maersk Line retained its top spot in the global performance ranking for the sixth consecutive month, with a global schedule reliability of 84.1 percent, followed by Hamburg Süd and APL with 81.4 percent and 77.0 percent respectively. The lowest ranked carriers among the Top 20 lines were NYK Line, Zim Integrated Shipping Services and China Shipping Container Lines.
Murphy explained that the drop in global schedule reliability was attributable to all of the Top 20 carriers, as all performed worse in December 2013 than they did in both November 2013 and December 2012. The performance of CSAV, Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line declined the least, with drops of 0.6, 1.5 and 3.2 percentage points respectively, while NYK Line, “K” Line and Cosco recorded the largest declines.
Poorer on-time performance was also seen in the delivery of individual containers to their destinations, which SeaIntel tracks in partnership with INTTRA. The global on-time delivery of containers dropped to 58.8 percent in December from 62.0 percent in November.
“The decline in performance is not just a regional pattern, as 21 of 32 trade lanes saw performance decline vis-à-vis November, including all major east-west trades,” Murphy added. “This is surely a worrying development for both shippers and carriers, as neither can be satisfied with such a significant drop in performance.”
SeaIntel’s report showed that the Asia-East Coast of South America trade lane improved its performance by 12 percentage points from November to December, although all of the main east-west routes, including the trans-Pacific eastbound, Asia to North Europe and Asia to the Mediterranean, saw reliability decline, by 8, 4 and 3 percentage points, respectively.
Schedule reliability in the trans-Atlantic trade dropped 11 percentage points for the eastbound lane and 10 percentage points for the westbound lane from November, in line with the seasonal pattern that SeaIntel recorded in the lane last year. Despite these “sharp” declines, reliability was higher in both trade lanes than in December 2012, SeaIntel said.