Drewry says the most recent edition of its Carrier Performance Insight
report "revealed a disappointing drop in performance for both ship-level and container-level reliability."
The London-based consultant and publisher, which compares actual with estimated arrival times of containerships at eight ports around the world including Los Angeles/Long Beach and Norfolk, found reliability dipped below 70 percent in the third quarter for the first time since the beginning of 2012. Weaker performances in the Asia trades to and from Europe, and the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent contributed to a quarter-over-quarter decline of 1.4 percentage points to 69.5 percent.
Drewry said the latest result represents the third consecutive quarterly drop in average on-time performance and is the lowest score since the third quarter of 2011 (61.1 percent). Compared to the same quarter in 2012, the third quarter 2013 result was down by 1.5 points.
Data derived from e-commerce platform provider CargoSmart reveals that while shipments from the origin port were no worse than in the second quarter, the delays in cargo availability at the destination port were caused by lengthier than scheduled transit times at sea.
“Heading into the slower winter season, carriers have already announced a raft of missed or cancelled voyages along with other service adjustments during the fourth quarter, which does not bode well for improvement in the short-term,” said Simon Heaney, research manager at Drewry. “Reliability in the container shipping arena is on a worrying downward trend, having made huge strides in the last couple of years. While carriers are rightfully looking to cut costs, they need to keep focus on delivering the service their customers demand."
Despite recording a lower on-time performance in the third quarter compared to the second, Maersk Line regained top slot as the most reliable carrier as its nearest rivals all saw their scores drop further. Maersk achieved its position by recording an on-time performance across all trades covered of 79.3 percent in the third quarter of 2013, dropping 2.7 points from its score of 82 percent in the second quarter of 2013. Its latest result means that Maersk has finished at the top of Drewry reliability rankings in 13 of the past 15 quarters.