Elly Maersk container ship

Greater Reliability Saves Money, Maersk Line Provides Top-Ranked Service [REPORT]

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July 17, 2012

Elly Maersk, image: Maersk Line

(Bloomberg) — The world’s container shipping lines boosted reliability in June in terms of the number of boxes delivered on time, according to a company that offers online shipping management and a maritime analytics firm.

The on-time rate for containers was 64 percent in June, up from 61 percent in May, according to a report by U.S. e-commerce platform INTTRA and SeaIntel Maritime Analysis. While that’s below the 66.5 percent of boxes delivered on time in 2011, it shows the industry is paying more attention to reliability, INTTRA said.

“We have started to see a marked improvement in vessel reliability as well as container reliability and it is not just one or two carriers, it seems to be systemic across the board,” INTTRA Chief Executive Officer Ken Bloom said in an interview.

Clients can cut shipping costs by as much as 70 percent through prompt deliveries, according to A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s largest container line. Late-arriving goods cost customers money in lost sales and output, while early arrivals may result in higher storage expenses and require a change in collection procedures and production plans.

The report also showed that Maersk Line was the most reliable among the world’s top 20 carriers in terms of sailing times in June, with 92 percent of its ships arriving on time, followed by Hamburg Sued at 88 percent and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. at 87 percent. Mediterranean Shipping Co. was the worst performer of the 20 at 73 percent.

Timing Slips

The improvement in June came after INTTRA data last month showed that container punctuality had slipped in the first 20 weeks of this year, when 63.7 percent of boxes arrived on time versus 65.9 percent a year earlier. In 2010 and 2011, 68.8 percent and 66.5 percent of boxes arrived on time, respectively.

The new report focused on the punctuality of containers and the time it takes shipping companies to deliver them to clients, rather than vessel punctuality and port-to-port transit times. There is a “significant gap” between those two measures, INTTRA and SeaIntel said today.

On routes between Asia and Europe and Asia and North America, container delivery times are typically 8 to 10 percentage points lower than the punctuality of ships, the report showed. While 88 percent of vessels travelling from Europe to Australia and New Zealand arrive on time, only 36 percent of cargo on that route reached customers on time.

“While knowing when the vessel arrives is an indicator of on-time arrival, what’s most important to a shipper is how timely their cargo is moving,” said Lars Jensen, chief executive officer of Copenhagen-based SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.

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