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Quest for Quality Ocean Carriers: Finding success on the high seas

By Staff
August 01, 2013

As executive Editor Patrick Burnson documents in this month’s Special Report, the business dynamics of ocean shipping continue to change for carriers as global supply chain practices become more strategic—putting pressure on those shippers looking to coordinate more modes in new regions around the world.

Despite the shift in demand, carriers continue to introduce new capacity into major global trade lanes—and shippers have been able to leverage rates to their advantage. But analysts say that trend may soon be reversed if vessel owners show a willingness to sacrifice volumes
to protect further pricing erosion. Of course, the arrival of a Peak Season—if there actually is one—will certainly tell the tale this year.

Peak Season in the past two years has proven particularly disappointing to ocean carriers and forwarders, and many ocean service providers fear another non-event. In fact, our analysts are forecasting that demand on the eastbound trans-pacific will grow at a similar rate to last year, at a little under 3 percent. And with abundant capacity there’s little reason, from a shipping perspective, for shippers to plan for Peak Season sooner.

For now, ocean carriers will need to do as much as they can to mange the capacity they’ve deployed to meet the forecast demand. And according to LM readers, the 12 carriers listed below have not only done a good job of managing through the challenging business environment, but they’ve also maintained world-class service levels over the past 12 months.

Leading the way on this year’s list of Quest for Quality winners is Hamburg-Sud with an impressive 47.00 overall weighed average, the second year in a row that the German carrier has entered the winners’ circle. Hamburg-Sud posted top marks in Information Technology (8.02) and tied with Seaboard Marine and APL for the highest score in Customer Service (9.31).

Hapag-Lloyd pulled in with a notable 46.94 weighted average this year, putting up the best scores in On-time Performance (11.38) and Equipment & Operations (9.05), while COSCO scored the top mark in Value with a 10.25. Along with Hamburg-Sud, Logistics Management readers welcomed Hapag-Lloyd, Seaboard Marine, Hanjin Shipping, MOL, “K” Line, and Maersk back to the winner’s circle for a second year in a row.

2013 Quest for Quality Winners Categories


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