In November 2022, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping company) reported the best schedule reliability among some of the major carriers. In fact, MSC claimed the top spot as the carrier with the best schedule reliability for the first time, overtaking Maersk according to the monthly data provided by Sea-Intelligence, which tracks the performance of over 60 carriers across 34 different trade routes. The data analytics firm reports that container shipping carriers are, in general, continuing to improve their schedule reliability ratings seeing as port delays caused by congestion have fallen.
Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, says that “both schedule reliability and average delay are now better than in 2020”. Murphy also notes that global schedule reliability improved by 4.7 percent month-over-month in November 2022 while average delay improved once again, dropping by another -0.58 days.
MSC is most reliable among major carriers
MSC reached the top of the list with the best overall performance (63.4 percent schedule reliability) among the 14 major carriers. According to Sea-Intelligence’s analysis, MSC also doubled its schedule reliability on a year-over-year basis, achieving a 20 percent improvement between October and November 2022. This is added to the fact that MSC became the largest container carrier in 2022.
As previously stated, this is the first time that MSC has headed Sea-Intelligence’s rankings. The two carriers with the best monthly performance have usually been Maersk and Hamburg-Sud. Between October and November, Maersk reported a 10 percent improvement in its schedule reliability and a 34 percent year-over-year improvement. Despite being the only other carrier to score above 60 percent reliability, Maersk fell behind MSC.
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10 out of the top 14 carriers are now above 50 percent schedule reliability, and Asia-based carriers have made the strongest overall improvements in reliability over the past 12 months. Companies such as Wan Hai, Evergreen, OOCL, HMM, Yang Ming, and COSCO each showed an improvement of 100 to 350 percent between November 2021 and November 2022. Other Asia-based carriers, however, reported smaller monthly improvements between October and November 2022. Only Yang Ming showed a decline (of just over three percent) in the monthly data report issued by Sea-Intelligence.
The overall average schedule reliability for ocean carriers has improved for seven consecutive months. Sea Intelligence reports that average schedule reliability has now surpassed 56 percent (which was last achieved in September 2020) after an all-time low at the start of 2022. Sea Intelligence also states that schedule reliability continues to recover from a low of just over 30 percent in January 2022 although the yearly average for 2022 remains the second lowest at 41 percent.
In terms of vessels arriving late, average delay stood at just over five days in November 2022, matching the yearly average of 2020. However, this is an improvement from a level of nearly eight days in January 2022, but the year’s average delay remains at nearly 6.5 days.
Shipping delays began to increase in late 2020 and worsened in early 2021. Inventory was clogged for weeks while ships waited for berths, and offloaded containers were forced to wait for extended periods at overcrowded freight ports.
There are numerous factors that can cause schedule reliability to decrease. The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the sector and led to port closures due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Before the pandemic, Sea-Intelligence calculates carriers averaged better than 70 percent schedule reliability. As many of the major ports continue to clear their backlogs, the expectation is that carriers will continue to improve their overall schedule reliability.