In a recent report by Sea-Intelligence, a prominent maritime research firm, the progress of schedule reliability recovery rates among the three major container carrier alliances—2M, Ocean Alliance, and THE Alliance—on the Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trade lanes has been scrutinized. The findings shed light on the diverse strategies employed and the factors influencing their recovery trajectories.

2M Leads the Way:

The report underscores the impressive recovery rate of the 2M alliance, comprising Maersk and MSC, on the Asia-North Europe trade lane. Within a mere two months after reaching its lowest point, 2M had improved schedule reliability by a remarkable 20 percentage points. By the seventh month, it had nearly achieved a 50 percentage point recovery. This swift rebound positioned 2M as the frontrunner, outpacing Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance on this critical trade lane.

Ocean Alliance’s Steady Progress:

Ocean Alliance, comprising CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping, Evergreen, and OOCL, demonstrated a comparatively slower yet consistent improvement rate on the Asia-North Europe trade lane. Despite a less rapid recovery, the alliance has steadily enhanced schedule reliability in the months following the lowest point of the pandemic.

THE Alliance’s Varied Performance:

THE Alliance, represented by Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming, and ONE, displayed a slower recovery rate on the Asia-North Europe route, although it has shown signs of acceleration in recent months. However, on the Asia-Mediterranean trade lane, THE Alliance faced the reverse trend, witnessing a decline in schedule reliability.

Factors Influencing Recovery:

The report identifies several factors contributing to 2M’s swift recovery. Notably, its larger fleet size and effective asset management played a pivotal role. Additionally, 2M’s extensive global network offered enhanced flexibility in routing vessels, facilitating faster adaptation to changing market dynamics.

Diverse Strategies:

The three alliances have adopted distinct strategies to bolster schedule reliability. 2M has focused on increasing sailing frequency, Ocean Alliance prioritized operational efficiency improvements, and THE Alliance has taken a more balanced approach, concentrating on both frequency and efficiency enhancements.

Ongoing Port Congestion Challenges:

The report emphasizes that all three alliances face a formidable common challenge—congestion at major ports. This congestion disrupts supply chains and poses a formidable barrier to achieving optimal schedule reliability, despite the alliances’ efforts.

A Mixed Outlook:

In conclusion, the Sea-Intelligence report highlights the progress made by all three alliances in improving schedule reliability. However, 2M currently leads the pack with its rapid recovery. The report also underscores the critical role of ongoing port congestion challenges in hampering overall performance. As the industry navigates these complexities, adaptability and innovative strategies will be essential in ensuring the resilience and efficiency of global supply chains.