Liner schedule reliability improves for the first time since the start of the pandemic

Port of Los Angeles
Eltrak - Cat banner ad
Papagiannoulis banner ad

For the first time since the start of the pandemic liner schedule reliability has improved on a year-on-year basis, but six out 10 boxes are still arriving at port late to the consternation of shippers forking out freight prices five times their historical average.

“Global schedule reliability seems to have broken the trend seen since the start of this year, with schedule reliability increasing by 3.6 percentage points in June 2022 to 40.0%,” a new report from Sea-Intelligence states.

Stonetech banner ad
Stonetech banner ad

The average delay for late vessel arrivals has been dropping sharply so far this year but remained unchanged month-on-month at 6.24 days in June.

With schedule reliability of 49.5%, Maersk was the most reliable carrier in June 2022, followed by Hamburg Süd with 41.4%. There were 10 carriers with schedule reliability of 30%-40% and only two with schedule reliability of 20%-30%.

On the transpacific from the middle of last month utilisation rates dropped below the 90% level for the first time since mid-2020, according to Sea-Intelligence who said that this implies that capacity is finally beginning to open up. On Asia-Europe, meanwhile, utilisation rates are back below 80%.

Sea-Intelligence pointed out also recently that boxship trading distances are turning negative.

“When trading distances increase, this also increases the need for vessel capacity and vice-versa. During the post-pandemic period, this led to an added need for capacity, however in recent months this effect has turned negative,” Sea-Intelligence pointed out in a report published at the end of July, adding: “As the current market is clearly on a downwards trajectory in terms of supply/demand balance, this shift in sailing distance impact once more becomes an added element, pushing the development – this time downwards.”

Whether schedule reliability can continue to improve on June’s figures remains to be seen with many pointing out that the last month has seen global port congestion significantly worsen.

Also looking at congestion issues today, specifically affecting the US, has been Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta.

In a markets update, Sand commented: “Despite ongoing concerns portside, with the continued threat of industrial action from dockworkers, amongst other factors, those shipping to the US west coast will have enjoyed easing congestion of late. Fewer ships mean less pressure, and schedule reliability has now reached its highest level in over a year.”

Nevertheless, Sand observed only 24.8% of ships are arriving on time to the west coast – with an average delay of 9.9 days, against an average of nine days on the east coast.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Sand said, adding: “It’ll be very interesting to see how this develops, as well as, of course, how rates are impacted by the capacity adjustment and changing demand picture going forwards.”