Shipping line reliability drops to an all time low

All modes of international transport are under pressure. The report on carrier reliability issued by Sea-Intelligence makes grim reading. Shipping line reliability in August 2021 shows carriers meet schedules on only 33.6% of journeys. Sea-Intelligence has monitored global schedule reliability across shipping lines for 10 years. Comparing August 2021 against 2020 shows just how bad the situation really is for the supply chain.

During 2021 shipping line schedules have hovered between 35 – 40 % for most of the year. Maersk line tops on the reliability stakes. With a score though of only 45.6% it isn’t a reliability factor to be proud of. Six carriers had a scheduled reliability factor of below 20%.

Full press release on and can be found here

Freight Forwarder reliance on shipping line reliability to provide services

From a freight forwarder perspective the reliance across all modes of transport has been an issue. The carrier reliability is only one part of the supply chain. Important as carrier reliability causes serious bottle-necks within the supply chain. Late vessel arrivals means that precious haulage slots are booked and cancelled constantly. Haulage is difficult to plan and importers/exporters bare the brunt of this. As haulage becomes more unreliable and difficult to book some forwarders have moved towards rail. As more freight forwarders have cottoned on to the rail, Depots across the UK have become swamped leading to Freightliner and GWRR having issues.

Now we shipping lines at the major port of Felixstowe refusing to allow the restitution of boxes at the port as the port itself is full. In part caused by the carrier reliability and bottle-necks around the port. Leaving the freight and logistics companies to disappoint customers with missed haulage and ever increasing Demurrage charges on containers.

Is their another business model in the world where supplier reliability is this bad. Should carrier alliances be questioned. When such a small number of global shipping lines control so much business. Do we really expect carrier reliability to improve between now and the end of the year?

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