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Weather affects ocean carriers

Weather affects ocean carriers
Maersk Line has claimed that extreme weather was to blame for a drop in shipping line reliability during the fourth quarter of last year.

Weather caused drop in ocean carrier reliability

Maersk Line has claimed that extreme weather was to blame for a drop in shipping line reliability during the fourth quarter of last year.

Situation room director Steffen Conradsen said the number of weather-related port closures in China increased by 50% last year, partly because of fog, while ports in the western Mediterranean were hit by high winds and torrential rain and those in northern Europe saw heavy snow in early December.

"We have ensured sufficient buffer to cater for normal and seasonal weather, like monsoons,? explained Conradsen.

"Our schedules cater for abnormal weather on the high seas, but the impact from terminals being closed is hard to predict.

"The delay not only occurs on the day the terminal is closed, the knock-on effect can be seen for several days after.?

Drewry Shipping Consultants" Container Shipper Insight report reveals that between 1 October and 31 December, 53% of 1,600 ships tracked arrived in port on schedule or the day before.

This compared with and average of 60% over the rest of the year and a record high of 69% for the second quarter.

Report editor Simon Heaney said: ?These results are especially disappointing as we had expected reliability to improve as a consequence of more slow-steaming. This should, in theory, have helped matters by creating a buffer in the schedule.?

However, Conradsen said that over the last four to six months, Maersk Line had spent a lot of extra money on bunker fuel to speed-up ships when they were running late.

"Reliability is one of our core parameters, and we spend a lot of money and effort designing the right product that we know we can deliver, as well as rectifying cases where, for various reasons, we are running late.

"We have, with our slow-steaming proformas, incorporated a significant amount of buffer to ensure that we can, to some extent, capture delays caused by adverse weather, but with increased bunker costs as a consequence.?

He added that Maersk Line had been named by Drewry as the most reliable global carrier for the last nine quarters.


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