Index to help shippers counter poor schedule reliability

Index to help shippers counter poor schedule reliability

A new index under development could help shippers and logistics providers prepare for the divergence in vessel arrival times from their scheduled arrival time. Photo credit: Hugh R. Morley.

The Shanghai Shipping Exchange (SSE) and software provider CargoSmart are creating an index tracking container ship reliability, aiming to help shippers adapt to global schedule reliability that’s generally no better than 80 percent. 

SSE and CargoSmart will create a new methodology to calculate and analyze schedule reliability for key trade lanes based on vessel sailing schedules and other data compiled by CargoSmart, the companies said in a release Thursday. CargoSmart will draw on its experience monitoring and analyzing more than 10 million sailing schedules, 16,000 vessels, 1,400 global container ports, and 3,000 ocean carrier services that represent 85 percent of the market, the companies stated.

The project was announced as vessel reliability remains a concern for shippers, although it has improved somewhat lately. Analysis of July data by Sea-Intelligence Maritime Consulting found that global schedule reliability stood at 82.6 percent. Fourteen of the top 15 carriers had a performance better than 80 percent, with the performance of two carriers — Wan Hai Lines and HMM — above 90 percent, the analyst found. That performance compared favorably with the vessel schedule reliability from August to October 2018, when none of the carriers had a schedule reliability performance of more than 80 percent, Sea-Intelligence said.

However, the analyst also found that for those vessels that are off schedule, the average time that they are late — 4.2 days — is at its highest level since 2015, when the delays were worsened by the US West Coast port labor dispute.

SSE provides shipping information for the global shipping market, and publishes the China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI) and Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). CargoSmart helps shippers use digital analysis and other technologies to gain insights to optimize supply chain planning and operations. The company in 2015 launched a sailing schedule search platform aimed at helping shippers and logistics service providers manage their ocean routes while having added visibility.

Contact Hugh R. Morley at and follow him on Twitter: @HughRMorley1.