Ocean cargo carrier tracks rail partners

MOL has established a performance standard to keep such missed vessel connections below 1 percent, and has added “Missed Vessel Connection Due to Rail Error Ratio” to the list of Regional key performance indicators it discloses to customers on its website.

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In a gesture that may be without precedent, MOL (America) Inc. announced that it has begun public disclosure of its ratio of U.S. to Asia export cargo that misses vessel connections due to rail errors.

MOL has established a performance standard to keep such missed vessel connections below 1 percent, and has added “Missed Vessel Connection Due to Rail Error Ratio” to the list of Regional key performance indicators (KPI) it discloses to customers on its website.

On a monthly basis, MOL will release the results, which measure the percentage of containers that in-gate prior to published intermodal inland cut-offs for all U.S. West Coast strings but miss the vessel connection due to a rail failure.

“We understand that realistically there will always be a few misses, but MOL considers any miss of the vessel connection to be a serious problem,” said Richard Craig, senior vice president of operations. “We believe that our standard is a very bold one for the industry but that it is an achievable result based on our strong relationship with our railroad partners.”

Matt Motsick founding director of Catapult International, a leading edge international shipping software and consulting firm, told LM that ocean carriers can be late for a variety of other reasons, however.

“Ocean transportation is unique, in that a vessel’s departure cycle has no end, and thus no opportunity to refresh,” he said. “A single negative event causing a delay will continue to negatively affect that vessel’s schedule for a potentially long period of time.  In reality, a carrier’s on-time statistics are skewed by how quickly that carrier re-sets their schedule to accomodate the delay.”


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 [email protected]

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Article Topics

Ocean Cargo · Ocean Freight · Rail · All Topics
Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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