August 3, 2012

Report: Most container ships arrive on time, but delivery to customer lags

A new report by Inttra and SeaIntel reveals that on some trade lanes, vessel on-time performance far outstrips container delivery reliability.

By DC Velocity Staff

An ocean carrier's reliability usually is measured on whether its ships arrived in port according to published schedules. But importers and customs brokers have long known that just because a ship is at the dock on the right day, that doesn't mean containers will reach consignees on time.

A new report from the Inttra e-commerce network for the ocean shipping industry and SeaIntel Maritime Analysis, a provider of container shipping industry analysis, documents and quantifies that disconnect. The gap between vessel arrival and container delivery reliability can be substantial indeed. The most egregious case was the Europe to Australia/New Zealand trade lane, where vessel reliability for direct service is 88 percent, but on-time container delivery is only 36 percent—a whopping 52 percentage-point difference.

Overall, vessel on-time performance averaged 81 percent globally. On the world's busiest lanes, the Asia-to-Europe and Asia-to-North America trades, container delivery was 8 to 10 percentage points lower than the vessel reliability. The report also found significant signs of improvement. In the Asia-to-Europe trade, on-time container delivery rose from 65 percent in 2011 to 74 percent so far in 2012. During that same period, in the Asia to Mediterranean trade, performance improved from 46 percent in 2011 to 68 percent in 2012.

The researchers conducted trade-lane analyses that compared vessel arrival reliability, based on SeaIntel's measurements, with the actual container delivery reliability, based on Inttra's data. They looked at close to a million container-status messages processed daily by Inttra, representing more than 18 percent of the world's total container shipments. The partners say this is the first research to combine on-time performance and schedule reliability measures at both the vessel and container level, providing both shippers and carriers with the ability to analyze actual container delivery time versus vessel arrival time at the country and trade-lane level.

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