Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Container line reliability to take 8 – 9 months to recover

Photo: Marcus Hand Evergreen containers on a vessel
An improvement container line schedule reliability is a key element in reducing supply chain disruption, however, recovery would take at least 8 – 9 months and is yet to start.

Overall container line schedule reliability dropped to 35.8% in 2021, according to analysts Sea-Intelligence. however, the picture was considerably worse on the main east-west trades, with niche trades bolstering the overall reliability percentage.

In attempt to see how long it would take schedule reliability to return to normal Sea-Intel drew a comparison with the labour dispute at US West Coast ports in early 2015 which led to severe disruption.

Container line schedule reliability on the Asia – North America West Coast trade in February 2015 stood at 12.6%, only very slightly above the 10.1% seen today. The labour dispute in 2015 was resolved on 20 February that year and it took eight – nine months to return to its baseline number.

However, vessel delays are considerably worse now at an average 15.07 days compared to 11.88 days in February 2015.

“Compared to a pre-pandemic baseline of 2017-2019, the excess delay in December 2021 versus the pre-pandemic baseline was 11.54 days, versus 8.73 days in February 2015 compared to the pre-labour dispute baseline. As the 2015 problem was resolved in 6-7 months, this means an average reduction in excess delay of 1.25-1.46 days per month,” said Alan Murphy CEO of Sea-Intel.

“If the current port and hinterland system manages the same speed of recovery this time, the delays also suggest that resolution would take 8-9 months,” he added.

The bad news is though there is no sign that the industry has started on this path of recovery as yet.