‘Skewed reliability’ in post-pandemic shipping

Shippers see worse reliability according to Sea-Intelligence

According to a report by Sea-Intelligence, global schedule reliability in May 2023 showed improvement, reaching 66.8 per cent.

While this figure remains relatively low, it can be regarded as indicative of “normal performance”.

READ: Positive trend continues for global schedule reliability

Sea-Intelligence has elected to weigh the reliability in each of the 34 different trade lanes with the amount of TEU carried in each lane to better reflect what the shippers are experiencing.

The firm has displayed in the figure below the “added reliability felt by the customers”. A positive difference indicates a higher volume of cargo being transported on trade lanes that are comparatively more reliable, while a negative difference implies the opposite.

© Sea-Intelligence

CEO of Sea-Intelligence, Alan Murphy, pointed out that despite the significant inter-month volatility, the level shift heading into the pandemic period is very clear.   

“Importantly, it can also be seen that despite the gradual normalisation of the reliability itself, the difference between the two methodologies (i.e., global reliability versus average of each trade lane, weighted by volume of containers being shipped) has not been normalised,” Murphy said.

READ: Schedule reliability bull run loses momentum

Thus, this indicated that customers are experiencing a global reliability 4.8 per cent worse off than what is indicated by the traditional global reliability number.

To summarise, compared to the pre-pandemic period, the distribution of the performance is skewed, which has resulted in shippers experiencing a level of reliability that has not completely returned to normal according to Sea-Intelligence.

Murphy concluded that: “If we extend the same methodology to average delay, then at the height of the supply chain disruptions, shippers also experienced longer delays for more of their cargo than indicated by the usual measurement, however this has now been fully normalised again.”

According to recent Sea-Intelligence’s data, shipping operators’ ability to control capacity appears to be a concern for the future.

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