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Container ships failing to deliver on schedule
29 May 2006
International Freighting Weekly

A global survey of schedule reliability has revealed that more than 40% of containerships arrive in port a day or more late.

Drewry Shipping Consultants tracked 3,300 vessel arrivals on 23 eastwest and north-south routes for its latest quarterly Container Shipper Insight.

It found 57% of vessels arrived on time, 22% a day after the scheduled day and the remainder even later. But the survey discovered big performance variations between operators, with ontime arrival ranging between zero and 91% over the December 2005-April 2006 study period.

Safmarine, Hatsu Marine and Maersk Line performed best of the major east/west carriers, while MSC and China Shipping Container Lines held least well to schedule.

"A large section of the industry still does not operate with the sort of predictable, reliable schedules shippers need, " said Philip Damas, lead researcher for Drewry.

Local factors such as port congestion in many African ports can affect reliability.

But the survey found that scores varied considerably even on the same route.

"Most liner carriers have not included in their weekly schedules sufficient buffer time for contingencies such as bad weather and port delays, " Drewry said. "Some lines regard buffer time as too expensive." Additional service disruption was caused in early 2006 by the switch of PONL/Grand Alliance vessels to Maersk.
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