With this initiative on schedule reliability, Hapag-Lloyd is tackling one of the main challenges faced by the global shipping industry. Container shipping is currently going through its worst operational crisis in many years. Due to high demand, massive COVID-19-related restrictions and the Suez Canal incident in April 2021, the industry has been forced to deal with major operational challenges, such as congested ports, ship delays and infrastructural bottlenecks. Nonetheless, Hapag-Lloyd would like to underline its commitment to address this critical aspect of the service it provides to its customers. Hapag-Lloyd’s clear objective is to enhance transparency on the schedule performance of its vessels. By also increasing the ships’ on-time performance, the carrier aims to improve supply-chain reliability for its customers and to maintain its current ranking among the top third of the 15 largest carriers in terms of schedule reliability.
“Reliable transportation and, along with it, transparency on schedule changes are significant service characteristics that customers value in managing their global supply chains,” explains Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd. “While offering more visibility on our schedule performance, we are proceeding to improve our on-time delivery at the individual-container level. To get there, however, we first have to manage the on-time arrival of our ships, one of the key influencing factors.”
Hapag-Lloyd is making significant changes to many operational processes – including improving cooperation with terminals, ports and all on-shore partners – to reduce delays. The clear target is to have ships arrive on or within one day of the ETA (estimated time of arrival) as indicated in the booking confirmation. Relying on punctuality can bring benefits to customers, such as reducing their warehouse stocks and avoiding excess inventory and interim storage. The carrier modifies its schedule and voyage management to provide more accurate vessel ETAs and pick-up times when containers will be released. Delays will still occur, but with better operational processes and arrival forecasting, customers can get updates faster, more reliably and proactively to improve planning. Hapag-Lloyd will be fully transparent about its schedule reliability via its Customer Dashboard. Here, its performance as well as its standing compared to the global industry are measurable. Apart from providing detailed information based on the monthly Sea-Intelligence Global Liner Performance Report, the company offers data collected in the “Carrier Schedule Analysis” (CSA), developed in-house. As part of the launch, Hapag-Lloyd presents global data versus the market as well as additional breakdowns at the country, trade and port-pair levels. And the carrier will continuously work to expand the amount of information it provides, eventually down to the individual-container level.
“We fully acknowledge that today we are still far away from achieving the reliability levels that our customers expect from us and the entire industry. Currently, we are facing massive congestion at ports and terminals. However, our teams are working hard on managing these challenges and creating more transparency for our customers. At the same time, our organisation is changing processes to improve our schedule reliability. The initial result of these efforts is that Hapag-Lloyd has climbed from 12th out of 15 in the Sea-Intelligence Global Liner Performance Report in December 2019 to 4th in April 2021,” Habben Jansen says. “And our target is to at least maintain this position among the top third. While we expect the global situation at ports and terminals to reach normal levels in the second half of 2021, we do not intend to rest. In 2022, we will set ourselves specific targets on the schedule reliability that we would like to achieve.”
With this initiative, Hapag-Lloyd reaffirms its ambition to differentiate itself from its competitors in terms of quality and sets the course to be an active driver of change in the industry. With the implementation of its Strategy 2023, Hapag-Lloyd is significantly improving its service to its customers and continuing on its journey with the overall goal of becoming “Number One for Quality”.