Red Sea Diversions Improve Liner Shipping Industry Schedule Reliability

Four months into the Red Sea diversions, liner shipping has shown improvements in schedule reliability. Sea-Intelligence reports a 1.6% increase in carrier reliability in March 2024, reaching nearly 56%. Carriers have adjusted schedules and brought in new tonnage to absorb disruptions, with late-arriving vessels reducing wait times. Pre-crisis levels are not yet reached.
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After four months of Red Sea diversions, the liner shipping industry has shown resilience, with major container carriers experiencing an upward trend in schedule reliability. Sea-Intelligence reported a 1.6 percent improvement in March, reaching nearly 56 percent reliability, the highest level in 2024. Late-arriving ships also reduced their waits, returning to levels seen in November 2023. Despite improvements, schedule reliability is still not at pre-crisis levels.

Carriers have adjusted schedules, changed routings, and brought back additional tonnage to absorb the impact of diversions on their operations. The delivery of new containerships from the large orderbook built up in 2020 and 2021 has also provided assistance. The average delay for late-arriving vessels decreased in March, with vessels clawing back half a day compared to February.

Among the top carriers, only CMA CGM and HMM experienced a decline in schedule reliability in March. The average among the top carriers was nearly 53 percent, with eleven carriers above the 50 percent threshold. Carriers are expected to continue diverting routes away from the Red Sea, with the Panama Canal adding back slots to ease pressures on schedules. The industry is showing signs of stabilization and improvement in performance.

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