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Making good on fixed ocean cargo schedules may be easier said than done

In its latest weekly report, Alphaliner asks the question: “Daily Maersk - what does it really mean?”
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
September 25, 2011

Analysts with the Paris-based consultancy, Alphaliner, are advising shippers to cast a critical eye on ocean carrier promises for “daily cut-offs.”

In its latest weekly report, Alphaliner asks the question: “Daily Maersk - what does it really mean?”

As reported in LM, Maersk enthusiastically announced its new product with the promise of a level of reliability on its Far East-North Europe services that would be “unmatched.”

The deployments from Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian
and Tanjung Pelepas to three European main ports would be on time or shippers would be compensated for the time lost, carrier spokesmen added. But

However, According to Stephen Fletcher, Alphaliner’s Commercial Director, shippers should “look beyond the hype” to understand what the product offers and the potential implications for the industry.

“Although Maersk currently offers seven sailings a week from the Far East to North Europe, it does not provide daily departures due to vessel bunching at the Far East ports and the need to insert intermediate ports between its four
core Far East origin ports,” he said. “To overcome this, the carrier would offer daily cutoffs at the Far East origins which does not require a departure every day between
Daily Maersk port pairs.”

Furthermore, said Alphaliner analysts, not all of the European ports are called on by all seven of Maersk’s FE-North Europe strings. For example, only four
of the seven strings call at Felixstowe and five call at Rotterdam.

“In addition, with the different sequence of calls at European ports, the transit time varies depending upon the loop into which container is loaded,” said Fletcher.

For example, of the five weekly Maersk strings that serve the key Shanghai-Rotterdam route, the transit time for this port pair varies between 26 and 32 days.

“Maersk’s ‘giant conveyor belt’ moves at different speeds across, and is not a standard product offering effective daily connections in the Maersk network,” Alphaliner concluded.

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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