Reliability of route schedules improves for the first time since the start of the pandemic

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the reliability of line schedules has improved year on year, but six out of 10 boxes are still arriving at the port late to the dismay of shippers who shell out fares freight five times higher than their historical average.

“Overall schedule reliability appears 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 reach 40.0%,” says a new report from Sea- Intelligence.

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

With a 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 30% to 40% schedule reliability and only two with 20% to 30% schedule reliability.

There is still a lot of work to do

On the transpacific from the middle of last month, utilization rates fell below the 90% level for the first time since mid-2020, according to Sea-Intelligence which said this implies capacity is finally starting. to open up. In Asia-Europe, utilization rates fell below 80%.

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

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

It remains to be seen whether schedule reliability can continue to improve from June figures, with many pointing out that the past month has seen global port congestion worsen significantly.

Peter Sand, chief analyst at Xeneta, also looked at congestion issues today, specifically affecting the United States.

In a Markets Update, Sand commented: “Despite continued concerns on the port side, with the continued threat of industrial action from dockworkers, among other factors, those shipping to the West Coast of the United States will have benefited reduced congestion lately. Fewer ships mean less pressure, and schedule reliability has now reached its highest level in over a year.

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

“There is still a lot of work to do,” said Sand, adding: “It will be very interesting to see how this develops, as well as of course how fares are impacted by the capacity adjustment and the evolution of demand. forward.