The third quarter Drewry report on schedule reliability, released recently, points to industry-wide improvements. Maersk Line leads the way with achieving the best ever 82.9% on-time reliability.
The latest quarterly report shows that more container ships are arriving on time. In the third quarter of 2011, on-time deliveries rose to 63 % of the total, up from 55 %.
Maersk Line retained its prime position: the most reliable of the top 20 carriers across all the trades. In the third quarter, we even achieved our best ever on-time reliability percentage of 82.9 %, up from 75 % in the second quarter.
APL took second place with an overall on-time reliability percentage of 77.8 %, while its New World Alliance partner Hyundai Merchant Marine came third with 73.5 %.
A new culture within the industry
Increased punctuality along the main East-West trade routes was a major factor behind the industry-wide reliability improvement. However, it is likely that many carriers have focused on these improvements during a period of faltering demand and rates just to keep their customers.
Alternatively, the score may also signal a new culture within the industry: other shipping lines are also beginning to recognise on- time delivery as a differentiator and are becoming more committed to schedule reliability.
The Daily Maersk Effect
Quite interestingly, a large part of the Drewry report executive summary is dedicated to Daily Maersk and “the new normal” being pioneered.
Asked about Daily Maersk, Jean-Louis Cambon of Michelin (and also Chair of the European Shippers’ Council’s Maritime Transport Council) is quoted as saying:
“First, de facto, it (Daily Maersk) introduces differentiation in the basket of services on offer, a longstanding demand from shippers, based on the concrete evidence that not all shipments have the same service and costs requirements.”
“Second, it recognises that uncertainty in schedules is the mother of all evils as it generates ‘belt and braces’ safety stocks at destination. Cutting the number of days where money sits tied up in inventory is an objective universally shared by shippers.”
Drewry seems to agree with this. The executive summary concludes:
“Maersk now has a powerful first-mover advantage and the speed and extent that other carriers can respond is difficult to judge. Carriers within alliances and big vessel-sharing agreements might have the shared vessel capacity on tap to replicate a daily offering, but no single carrier has sufficient resources in the trade to mimic Maersk.”
Maersk Line records its best ever on-time reliability during the third quarter