Ocean carriers bucked a five-month downward trend by improving container service reliability in March, 2016 according to the latest Carrier Performance Insight by Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.
The average on-time performance in March, 2016 gained 5.5 points against February to reach 68%, with an average deviation from the expected arrival at port of 1 day.
The improvement seen in March was expected as services returned to closer to operational normality after the Chinese New Year in February when carriers tinkered with ever more void sailings to mitigate weaker demand.
Eight of the 10 trades covered reported monthly improvements in reliability with the biggest seen in the Asia-Oceania and Europe-Middle East trades, which gained 14.2 points and 10.4 points, respectively.
The two trades that regressed, Asia-South America and Asia-South Asia, fell back by no more than a couple of points against their February performance.
Japanese line MOL was for the third consecutive month the most reliable carrier with an on-time average of 76.3% for March, followed again by Maersk Line in second spot with a performance of 73.1%.
Only one of the 19 carriers failed to improve reliability in March compared to February, while the gap from the most to least reliable carriers narrowed further to around 13 points.
Simon Heaney, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Research at Drewry, said: “Despite the very welcome upturn in reliability performance the overall average remains marginally below that of January this year and about 10 points off the peak scores achieved in H2, 2015, indicating there is still much room for improvement.
“The widespread improvement in reliability across the vast majority of trades and carriers in March is an encouraging sign that the need to provide reliable services to customers has not been forgotten at a time of historically low freight rates.”
PTI previously reported that carrier reliability had slipped in January, 2016 by 5.7%, with nine out of 10 trades less punctual for the month.
Building on Drewry’s long established schedule reliability benchmarking that started back in 2005, the new Carrier Performance Insight provides the ability to benchmark the reliability performance of container carriers on a port-to-port, trade lane, service and industry-wide basis.