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Can U.S. ports measure up to carrier promises?

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 15, 2011

Daily Maersk, the Danish carrier’s new service on the Asia–North Europe trade lane, will dramatically change the way shipping is done overseas. But can the same be said for calls to the States?

As reported in LM, the engine behind Daily Maersk is 70 vessels operating a daily service between four ports in Asia (Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas) and three ports in Europe (Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven) in what amounts to a giant ocean conveyor belt for the world’s busiest trade lane.

Regardless of which of the four Asian ports the cargo is loaded at, the transportation time – from cut-off to cargo availability – is fixed. Daily cut-offs mean that cargo can be shipped immediately after production without the need for storage.

Maersk Line promises that cargo at the other end will be available for pick-up on the agreed date. To underline that Maersk Line means business and how firmly the company believes in Daily Maersk, the promise is backed up with monetary compensation, should customers’ containers not arrive on time. This promise is a first in the shipping industry.

But can such a pledge be made to shippers in the transpacific? Many analysts don’t think so. Given the relative inefficiency of U.S. ports (particularly at the strike-prone ocean cargo gateways on the West Coast), adhering to a fixed schedule represents a risk ocean carriers may wish to avoid.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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