Do large vessels cause poor reliability?
In the wake of the Ever Given incident, there is a sentiment across some cargo owners and industry commentators that larger container vessels lead to poor service quality. The size impact of container vessels has long been a hotly debated topic in the industry but has once again come to the forefront, following the Suez Canal blockage. In issue 509 of the Sunday Spotlight, we therefore looked at one aspect of service quality – schedule reliability – to see whether larger vessels are indeed more unreliable than the smaller ones.
Figure 1 shows the schedule reliability per vessel-size group for both 2018 and 2019 on the Asia-North Europe trade lane. We can very clearly see that the assumption that larger vessels are unreliable is incorrect. In fact, the +22,500 TEU vessels, that were deployed on the trade lane from September 2019, had the highest schedule reliability of 95.1%, across all vessel-size groups in that year. In 2018 however, we see a slightly different trend, with the 10,000-12,499 TEU vessels the most reliable with 84.4% schedule reliability. The vessel-size groups from 15,000 TEU upwards see decreasing schedule reliability with increasing vessel size. However, both 15,000-17,499 TEU and 17,500-19,999 TEU vessel groups had higher schedule reliability than the 12,500-14,999 TEU vessel group.
On Asia-Mediterranean in 2019, when looking at vessels of over 10,000 TEU, schedule reliability increased with increasing vessel-size groups, with both the 20,000-22,499 TEU and the 23,000 TEU vessels recording perfect 100% schedule reliability. Even in 2018, the two largest vessel-size groups in deployment – 17,500-19,999 TEU and 20,000-22,499 TEU – had the highest schedule reliability of 85.2% and 84.2%, respectively.
While the ultra-large container vessels are only consistently deployed on Asia-Europe, we also extended our analysis to the Transpacific, for reference. On Asia-North America West Coast, both the 7,500-9,999 TEU and 12,500-14,999 TEU vessel-size groups had similar schedule reliability in both 2018 and 2019, while the 10,000-12,499 TEU group had a higher schedule reliability in 2019 of 73.3%. The only variation on Transpacific was on Asia-North America East Coast, where the largest vessel-size group had the lowest schedule reliability.
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All quotes can be attributed to: Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence.
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