New research highlights shipping industry unreliability

18/05/2012

New research highlights low customer service and poor time-keeping in container shipping industry. In some cases, service standards in the container line industry are as low as 40% when measured against a new set of key performance indicators.

Research obtained claim that only four in ten shippers obtain a bill of lading within three days of submitting shipping instructions. This suggests that for some lines, large improvements are necessary in order to improve commercial processes.

However, performances ranged between 0% and 93% across the five-month measurement period from October 2011 to February 2012. This indicates that the industry is somewhat polarised in its customer service efforts.

In addition, the key performance indicators for “on-time shipment of cargo” which is a measure of whether a box leaves port as scheduled showed a consistent success rate of 66-70% in the same 5 months. This indicated that delays are fairly common even before the box has been loaded on board.

However, as part of the research, when analysts compared the port-to-port transit time with sailing schedules, therefore excluding port delays, they found that the container lines fared slightly better. This being said, 25% of boxes still spent longer at seas than planned.

Simon Heaney, Research Manager at Drewry, said,

“Any improvement in reliability should be welcomed, but an average score of around 70% is still far too low for a key service industry to be happy with.”

“Carriers that want to secure new business – essential if they want to fill their big new ships – will have to aim higher than the current benchmark and not rest on their laurels.

“Reliability remains an area that carriers can distinguish themselves from the competition. Shippers can play their part in driving future service quality by putting greater emphasis on reliability and other service criteria in their carrier selections.”

According to Drewry, the most reliable carriers were Maersk Line and sister company Safmarine, followed by Hanjin Shipping.

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