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Liner reliability reaches all-time high

31 January, 2016

Liner reliability reaches all-time high

Liner reliability reaches all-time high


Shippers and forwarders that place a premium on punctual container shipping services should continue to choose their carriers with care, according to Drewry’s latest analysis of liner reliability.

Overall container service reliability saw substantial improvement in 2015, but large performance differentials between lines were still apparent, said the analyst.

“Despite a mild deterioration in the final three months of the year, the year-long reliability average for all trades covered represented a marked improvement on 2014 - the on-time reliability for the 12-month period for all trades reached 73%, against an average of just 59% in 2014,” said Drewry.

The 2015 on-time average represented a new high water mark for the container shipping industry, up from the previous best of 72% recorded in 2012.

Drewry, which has been monitoring container service reliability for over 10 years, considers a ship to be on time if the arrival of the ship is within plus or minus 24 hours of the scheduled ETA at the discharge port.

The analyst said explaining the dramatic improvement in service levels in 2015 was difficult, but surmised that it was “a reflection of the operational improvements brought about by the new, enlarged carrier alliances, and that carriers in general are belatedly recognising the importance of reliability in terms of marketing and customer retention”.

However, the analyst warned that the gap between the best and worst performing lines remained large, and further improvements during 2016 were unlikely to be as striking as in 2015.

In 2015, the carrier with the highest overall on-time performance was Danish carrier Maersk Line, which topped the rankings with a 12-month average of 81.0%. In second place was Evergreen with 78.1%, while K Line took third position with 77.6%. MSC was the worst performer, scoring a lowly 58.4%.

“The gap between the best and worst performing lines has narrowed with the variation now being around 20 percentage points, when it had been much wider in previous years,” said Drewry.

The analyst said the ‘new normal’ of higher levels of reliability would probably last. But while the differential between carrier performance left room for improvement, shippers should not expect more major reliability gains from carriers in the short-to-medium term as most carriers’ would focus instead on restoring profitability.