Larger container vessels are not less reliable

Analysis of historic schedule reliability data in the wake of the Ever Given grounding in the Suez Canal shows no link between vessel size and schedule reliability.

Analyst Sea-Intelligence looked at the schedule reliability of container vessels in 2018 and 2019, breaking the data down by vessel size. The investigation was spurred by sentiments from cargo owners and commentators that larger box vessels brought lower service quality.

The 2019 data show the largest vessels of over 22,500 teu were the most reliable on the Asia-Northern Europe trades, while in 2018 the then-largest vessels of 20,000-22,499 teu were the second-least reliable. The most reliable vessel size in 2018 was 10,000-12,499 teu.

“We can very clearly see that the assumption that larger vessels are unreliable is incorrect,” said Sea-Intelligence CEO Alan Murphy.

For the Asia-Mediterranean trades in 2019, schedule reliability increased with vessel size for ships over 10,000 teu with the two largest vessel groups recording perfect reliability at 100%. “Even in 2018, the two largest vessel-size groups in deployment – 17,500-19,999 teu and 20,000-22,499 teu – had the highest schedule reliability of 85.2% and 84.2%, respectively,” said Murphy.