The carrier offers daily cut-offs at four origin ports in Asia and guaranteed arrival times to three key northern European ports. Leveraging its Asia-Europe service network of 70 owned-operated vessels, Maersk has only had to make minor tweaks to its schedules to deliver a marketing master trick, said the London-based shipping analysts.
It is almost the only carrier operating on the trade with sufficient critical mass and market share to be able to make such a promise, said its report. But as the recent tie up of Geneva-based MSC and France's CMA CGM shows, rivals have been quick to respond.
But the introduction of transit time guarantees is a groundbreaking development on the Asia-Europe trade, particularly within an industry not best known for service reliability. Thus far such arrangements have been limited to services operating on the transpacific trade.
Drewry estimates that the proportion of ships arriving on time across global trades over the past five years has averaged no better than 55 per cent, based on data published in its Schedule Reliability Insight.
Carriers claim that the introduction of slow steaming has enabled improvement in their punctuality but the evidence thus far is not convincing. Data from Drewry's Schedule Reliability Insight shows that overall industry reliability has improved by just five per cent to 57 per cent in the period since January 2009 compared to the previous three years.