Box rates up 332% year-on-year, schedule reliability hits dire new lows

Shippers might be paying 332% more per box that they were this time last year, according to the latest data from Drewry, yet they’re having to put up with the worst schedule reliability in the history of containerisation.

In the first five months of 2021, 401 vessel arrivals on the transpacific and 144 on Asia-Europe were over 14 days late, according to data from Sea-Intelligence. Putting these numbers in perspective, the combined 2012 to 2020 total of such late vessel arrivals was 388 on the transpacific and 69 on Asia-Europe.

“In the past few months, schedule reliability has been largely consistent, albeit at an extremely low level of 35%-40%, compared to a long-term average of around 75%,” Sea-Intelligence noted in its most recent weekly report.

The average delay for vessel arrivals that were marked as late remains extremely high globally, at close to six days, compared to a long-term average of around four days.

Liners have gone public recently, admitting that the current late arrivals situation is not good enough.

Earlier this month Hapag-Lloyd launched an initiative to provide full transparency on its schedule reliability.

“We are fully aware that our industry is currently facing the worst operational crisis in more than a decade and that we are far from delivering the absolute levels of service that you would expect from us and the entire industry,” the German carrier stated in a note to clients.

Similarly, Søren Toft, the CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), speaking last week in an interview during the World Ports Conference, said: “I realise from a service reliability issue we must do better.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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