Market update: Record level – Increasing supply chain transit times and ongoing poor schedule reliability

A record level of 123 average transit days from Asian shipper to European importer has been measured in April. Further exposing the challenges and disruptions within the Asian – European supply chains. Although a mere snapshot, the average transit days has fluctuated around 100+ days since the beginning of the corona-pandemic.

The current transit times in relation to transit times in mid-June 2019, in which the same journey would take up to an average of 45 days. Asia-to-northern European port transit time has risen by over 30% since 2007.

One of many reasons is that carriers are reducing speeds to avoid higher bunker costs and using ever-larger vessels that require longer port calls. In the near future transit times are expected to further rise. According to Lloydslist, 2M carriers Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co are extending two of their Asia-northern Europe services to 13 weeks. THE Alliance has also stretched the rotation of its FE5 from nine weeks to 10, while HMM has extended its standalone AEX service from 10 to 11 weeks.

Increased rotation times for west-bound services in combination with current disruptions in Asian ports due to covid-19 outbreaks and poor schedule reliability are further pressurizing supply chain transit times. Although schedule reliability has continuously improved since January 2022 (35.89% in march), the figures are still extremely low in relation to previous years. Where schedule reliability figures have been fluctuating between 70- 85% throughout 2019. In addition, port congestions and capacity constraints on hinterland connections on global scale, add to the extreme supply chain transit times. Shippers are advised to incorporate the current transit times into their supply chains strategies, as the situation is not expected to change on short notice.

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Each monthly update we will highlight the developments within the Ocean freight market including the following topics:

  • Trending topic
  • Space & rate developments
  • Port developments & congestion
  • Freight Indices & Container Availability
  • How to mitigate risks

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