Schedule reliability drops to an all-time low in August

Schedule reliability drops to an all-time low in August

28 September 2021

Sea-Intelligence’s latest figures on the main ocean trade lanes show that schedule reliability dropped to 33.6% in August, as Maersk explains how it is trying to maintain its ‘most reliable’ position

Although schedule reliability has hovered between 35%-40% for most of the year, in August 2021 it dropped to 33.6%, according to issue 121 of the Global Liner Performance (GLP) report, published by Sea Intelligence.

The report covers schedule reliability across 34 different trade lanes and more than 60 carriers. Sea-Intelligence says that 33.6% figure is a new all-time low during the 10 years it has tracked global schedule reliability.

On a Y/Y level, reliability in August 2021 was -30.1 percentage points lower than August 2020, continuing the trend of Y/Y declines of over -30.0 percentage points in each month in 2021 so far. The average delay for late vessel arrivals continued to deteriorate, increasing by 0.58 days M/M to 7.57 days in August.

Maersk Line was once again the most reliable top-14 carrier in August 2021, with schedule reliability of 45.6%, followed by Hamburg Süd with 38.0%. Another three carriers had schedule reliability between 30%-40%, with only three carriers recording schedule reliability of 20%-30%.

Six carriers had schedule reliability of under 20%, with Evergreen recording the lowest August 2021 schedule reliability of just 11.5%. Only HMM recorded a M/M improvement in schedule reliability, of  1.6 percentage points, while no carrier recorded a Y/Y improvement, with the smallest Y/Y decline of -24.2 percentage points recorded by Maersk Line

Maersk works to improve reliability

In its just released Asia Pacific market update, Maersk explains how it is attempting to maintain schedules.

“To improve schedule reliability, Maersk has decided to adjust vessel voyage numbers on Asia-North Europe services to match the corresponding actual weeks of departure. Continued strong demand, coupled with network disruptions has hammered our schedule reliability.

“Maersk will rationalise some of our service coverages to reduce the number of port calls to improve reliability. We advise customers to plan their supply chains well ahead, particularly for the upcoming holiday rush.”

It explains that China’s October Golden Week, Christmas and Chinese New Year will bolster strong demand for container shipping for the last quarter of 2021. But port congestion, especially in the US and Europe, and service delays are expected to create headwinds for service schedules. Extra loaders and ad hoc port omissions will be implemented to help improve reliability.

“We expect Q4 to be stronger for Asia imports with network utilisation remaining above 95%. We are striving to meet the needs of our import focused customers and reposition empty equipment back to Asia. As boxes remain in North America and Europe for longer, so the severity of container shortages increases across Asia.”

Maersk expects equipment availability to remain tight in Q4 2021. “We have increased our flow of empty containers into Asia ports, and invested in-fleeting of new containers to provide sufficient stocks for Q4.

“Our vessel schedules continue to be affected by port delays and we find it necessary to change some port rotations to reduce the total delays faced. Both the equipment and vessel schedule actions are specifically intended to improve reliability as far as possible.”

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