US shippers that diverted Asian imports to east coast ports to avoid the heavily congested Pacific coast container terminals could do well to review their strategy following a return to normality on the west coast.
That is the view of liner consultancy SeaIntel, which has analysed the two ex-Asia tradelanes since January 2012 and concluded that schedule reliability to the US west coast is consistently at a higher level than to the east coast.
During the two-year period to December 2013, SeaIntel said, there was “not a single month” where schedule reliability was at a higher level to the east coast than to the west. In fact, throughout this period its data shows that the reliability gap varied from 2.4 to 14.9 percentage points in favor of the west coast.
The congestion that began to form in west coast ports in July 2014, and which then peaked in January and February this year as labor agreement talks stalled, destroyed the schedule reliability of ocean carriers serving the region – at its worst, just 10% of sailings arrived on time.
Despite these bleak negative months, the overall score, for the full January 2012 to April 2015 period covered by SeaIntel, still has the west coast ahead with a score of 74.1%, compared with 70.9% for east coast services.
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