The sustained pressure on the rates, forcing all carriers to aggressively reduce their costs, has - combined with a longer period of poor weather conditions - made the schedule reliability among container carriers drop significantly. This goes for Maersk Line as well, a carrier that has historically ranked number one on analysts' surveys of schedule reliability in the container industry.
"In the first three months of 2014, compared to the same period last year, we've experienced twice as many port closures in the Far East due to poor weather conditions, capacity problems in the ports, cranes out of order, and walkouts. So it becomes a choice between increasing bunker consumption in order to restore schedule reliability, or cutting costs. In light of the declining rates, all carriers are faced with this choice on a daily basis," Catja Hjorth, Centre Operations at Maersk Line, tells ShippingWatch, stressing that Maersk Line is still ranked number one with a significant distance to the market average.