Container Line Stabilizes, Red Sea Rerouting the New Norm

A Hapag-Lloyd container ship in port
Updated Published

Sea-Intelligence, a market analysis firm, observed an uptick in the global punctuality of container shipping lines in February 2024, noting a 1.7 percentage point increase from January, reaching 53.3%.

Alan Murphy, the CEO of Sea-Intelligence, remarked on the recent changes, stating, “After a tumultuous few weeks in the wake of the Red Sea crisis, some form of stability has ensued, with the round-Africa routings now normalising.”

Despite the month-over-month improvement, the aftermath of the Red Sea crisis meant that February's schedule reliability was 6.9 percentage points below that of February 2023.

Hapag-Lloyd stood out as the most punctual among the top 13 carriers in February 2024, achieving a reliability score of 54.9%. Sea-Intelligence reported that seven other carriers also surpassed the 50% reliability mark, while the rest hovered between 40%-50%.

Pacific International Lines (PIL) recorded the lowest punctuality score among leading carriers, at 45.3%.

The average global schedule reliability score of 53.3% remains significantly lower than the 64.4% seen in September of the previous year, and far below the peak of 66.8% in May 2023.

The industry has largely adapted to rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope, with these adjusted schedules becoming standard amidst ongoing disruptions.

Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, contributed insights in a Baltic Exchange report, expressing optimism for future improvements: “The expectation should be further improvements in the coming months as vessels are now settled into the new round-Africa services where planned transit times are longer, but it should allow for more timely services in accordance with these new schedules.”