Containership operators are doing a better job of keeping ships and containers on schedule, says London-based Drewry, which has just published its latest quarterly Container Performance Insight
Containership reliability reached a new record high in the fourth quarter of 2012 with the percentage of on-time ship arrivals across all trades increasing to 79.9 percent, a rise of 6.4 percentage points on the third quarter performance.
The new ship reliability record eclipses the previous best of 75.7 percent set in the second quarter of 2012.
The latest on-time score also means the on-time percentage stayed in the 70-80 percent range for the whole of 2012, whereas previously it had not gone above 69 percent in any quarter since Drewry started
Drewry said container-level data showed similar gain.
“While carriers deserve some plaudits for their improving reliability, a worrying trend for cancelled or blank voyages is emerging as carriers attempt to redress weak supply and demand fundamentals,” said Simon Heaney, research manager at Drewry.
Drewry said it is "hearing of shippers building in specific clauses into contracts to alleviate the potential disruption of missed sailings by committing volumes against actual services rather than a carrier, as is standard practice."
It said those "blank voyages" are making life tougher for shippers, who have had to contend with the possibility of strike action at U.S. East and Gulf coast ports since last fall.
“It is important for carrier-shipper relations that at the very least lines keep their customers informed well ahead of time, especially if they want to justify future general rate increases. It is difficult to make the case for rate hikes when the customer service is deteriorating,” Heaney said. - Chris Dupin