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The dark side of “Slow Steaming”

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 09, 2011

Ocean carrier schedule integrity is in jeopardy now that “slow steaming” is in vogue, and shippers have every reason to be concerned.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report issued by London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants. In their latest issue of “Container Shipper Insight,” they state that more vessels arrived at their destinations behind schedule in the fourth quarter – down 7 percent from the reliability rate in the first three quarters of 2009.

Even more alarming, though, is the fact that each of the major east-west trade-lanes suffered a drop in on-time performance during this period.

Carriers have been lauded, and rightfully so, for saving fuel and anticipating regulatory reforms on emissions, but this should not mean a disruption of the supply chain.

Skeptics in the shipping community suggest that –
deliberate or not – this development will give vessel operators even more leverage in upcoming contract negotiations. With demand surging and capacity restrained, does this represent one more weapon in the carrier arsenal?

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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