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Reliability of Containerships Drops to New Lows

Reliability of Containerships Drops to New Lows

Understanding the Effect of Tradeline Congestion on Containership Reliability

2020 disrupted the global supply chain in unpredictable ways and it appears 2021 has begun to follow suit. Containership reliability numbers have plummeted causing average shipment delays to increase. Within this post, we will discuss the cause and spread of this decline to ensure you understand the possible delays in current shipping schedules. 

A Sharp Decrease in Reliability 

During the last half of 2020, there was a widely apparent decline in the reliability of containerships arriving on-time. For the last 5 months, the reliability steadily declined to the lowest it has ever been reported since the benchmark was introduced by Sea Intelligence in 2011. In December of last year, it was reported that under half of the vessels had arrived on their scheduled arrival date whereas, during 2018 the same rate was well above 70%. Creating a significant drop in timely arrivals. In the year spanning from December 2019 to December 2020, the on-time arrival rate had a decline of over 30%. With these numbers, containership arrivals are more unpredictable than ever. 

Tradeline Congestion Causes Reliability Decrease

The surge in demand that was brought on by a global lockdown has flooded ports worldwide and the capacity of significant tradelines has been reached. This congestion results in a slowing of all containership arrivals. Sea Intelligence Consulting chief executive Alan Murphy warns that “With continued widespread port congestion, and with carriers still not letting off capacity-wise (especially on the major trades) shippers might not see improving schedule reliability until the second quarter of 2021.” Meaning these delays will be present well into this newly began year. 

The Spread of Reliability Decline Across Carriers 

This decline is apparent across all carriers’ reported numbers for the last half of 2020. Within this time frame, there was not a single documented carrier that managed to improve their year to year reliability. Along with the decrease in reliability, comes a greater occurrence of vessels arriving later than expected. A vessel’s current average delay is reported to be around 5-6 days, as compared to last year’s average delay of about 4 days. Currently, within the US the decline in reliability is at its lowest. There is roughly a rate of less than 1 in 3 for containerships avoiding delays. 

How Sheltered International Can Help  

With these unpredictable declines, there is no time more critical than now to choose the best possible company for your shipping needs. With Sheltered International we can ensure the quickest and most reliable options for your company when current circumstances are not so reliable. 

To learn more about SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Sheltered International Gets a New Look for 2021

Refreshed SiShips Software, Updated Logo Are Just the First of Big Changes Coming for 2021

At Sheltered International, we believe that challenges inspire innovation. Although 2020 has had some unexpected obstacles, we’ve also been challenged to continually improve our software and deliver the best possible experience for our clients. As we enter 2021, we’re striving to maintain that momentum. That’s why we’re very excited to announce that we’ll be launching a software refresh for SiShips on January 1, 2021, featuring a brand-new logo and custom designs developed in partnership with our new design team in Budapest. We’re confident that this new look will help SiShips continue to provide excellent service for your freight forwarding needs.

Introducing Our New LogoSheltered International New Logo

Featuring a combination of our initials “S” and “I”, our new logo was inspired by the blade propellers on ships and airplanes. This inspiration draws not just from our brand identity but our focus: to bring our clients the best shipping solutions, both by air and by sea. “We are really excited about the new branding and user interface being led by our design team in Budapest,” said Sheltered International CEO Andrew Ciccarone, “The main challenge was to refresh without restarting. Pulling inspiration from the propeller shape was genius.”


Sheltered International Logo Redesign

Custom Google Maps Design

To ensure your experience within SiShips is optimized for efficiency, we’ve also refreshed our map design. Used to power our live satellite tracking, Google Maps is a key part of our software, and with a sleek, minimal look, it’s easy for you to find the information you’re looking for without all the clutter. Thanks to simplified shipment tracking visuals, you’ll be able to save time and enjoy a sleek, streamlined shipping experience.

SiShips Satellite Tracking

Coming Soon: The SiShips Mobile App

Our updates for 2021 don’t end with a refreshed software: We’re thrilled to be releasing a SiShips mobile app, launching in Q2 2021. Offering even more flexibility and mobility, the app will let you track your shipments, generate quotes, and manage your freight all from your mobile phone. We know you’re busy building your business – that’s why we’re here to help you earn back your time and reinvest it where it counts.


Want to learn more about SiShips and how it can help you build your business? Contact our team today.


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Using SiShips’s New Deadline Tracking Feature

Managing Holiday Deadlines, Port Congestion With Deadline Tracking

With the holidays quickly approaching, conditions continue to deteriorate at US gateway ports. Congestion has already significantly impacted ports around the country, particularly along the west coast, subsequently driving up trucking rates and drastically slowing delivery times. To be expected around the holidays, surging ocean freight demand is placing the system under even greater stress. This year, however, this has been compounded by equipment shortages, overbooks, blank sailings, and existing port congestion.

To combat these obstacles, we’ve added a new Deadline Tracking feature to our SiShips software. With Deadline Tracking, you can better predict how your shipments will be impacted by potential delays. This knowledge will allow you to make informed decisions for your business during the holidays. Read on to learn more about how to use this new feature.

Holiday Port Congestion

With holiday shoppers choosing e-commerce options over in-person ones, shippers are being tested to keep up with demand. West coast ports, in particular, are experiencing drastic increases in capacity: The Port of Long Beach handled 806,603 TEUs in October, breaking its previous record that had only been set in September.

Unsurprisingly, major online retailers like Amazon are a key factor in driving this surge: last month, 79% of Amazon’s shipments arrived via Los Angeles/Long Beach. Overall, e-commerce sales have increased 19.9% year on year, and experts predict sales in November and December alone will see a 33% year on year surge.

How to Use Deadline Tracking for Your Shipments

Ocean cargo shipments can be complex, particularly with the many added factors currently at play. Our Deadline Tracking was designed to simplify the experience and provide you with valuable knowledge.

Incorporated into your shipment’s timeline, the Deadline Tracking feature will display in red if the ETA will not meet your deadline. Note that if there is no door delivery option, the deadline will use the last port date.

Once your freight has shipped, the deadline will transfer from quotes and bookings into tracking automatically. Once the delivery is completed, the deadline will show the difference (+/-) between delivery and desired deadline.

Don’t have a deadline? Just tick the box next to “Any Deadlines” to skip this step.

Deadline Tracking SiShips Freight Forwarding

We know managing shipments can be difficult. That’s why we used our extensive years in freight forwarding to develop SiShips. With this software, quoting, tracking, and planning are made easy, so you can spend less time worrying about freight forwarding and more time improving your business.

Contact us today to learn more about how SiShips can simplify your shipping experience.


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SiShips Adds Full Container Rates from Europe

Partnership with European Group Provides Expertise, Instant Quotes for Major EU Ports


We are pleased to announce that we’ve expanded the auto quoting function of our software SiShips to now include European shipping lanes. With booking available directly through our system, auto quotes are an efficient way to ensure you’re getting the best rates for your shipment and can save you and your business valuable time and money. “Expanding our instant quoting service to Europe means increased carrier options, capacity, and rate transparency – all at our customer’s fingertips,” says Sheltered International founder Andrew Ciccarone. Read on to learn more about the new function.

Providing EU Full Container Rates

While SiShips previously offered auto quotes from Asian ports, European ports were more complex. “The EU market is very diverse, with many small countries each requiring niche market knowledge,” explains Ciccarone. “This can make the market particularly difficult for a customer to navigate efficiently.”

Although SiShips already provides spot quotes for European shipping lanes, we wanted to provide the ease and efficiency of auto quotes for those clients shipping from Europe as well as from Asia. The solution? Partner with a European business, combining its expertise with that of Sheltered International. “Our partner in the EU was established in 1968, has more than 40 offices in 25 countries, and over 100 million euros of purchasing power,” says Ciccarone. “SiShips technology combined with that expertise and purchasing power is a compelling benefit for our customers.”

How to Access Full Container Auto Quotes

Obtaining a full container quote in the SiShips system is easy. Simply click “Quotes,” within the software, then click “Full Container Auto Quote.” From there, input the origin city and destination. The software can provide auto quotes for ports in the following countries:

auto quotes shipping European ports

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom


If the port you’re shipping from isn’t available for an auto quote, our experts are available to provide a custom quote for your business. Simply request a spot quote and our team will get back to you with rates and routes available. Learn more about requesting a quote.


Ready to streamline your freight forwarding experience? From quoting to tracking, SiShips makes shipping easy, giving you more time to worry about building your business. Contact us today to learn more.

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Supply Chain Congestion as Truck Rates Increase, Ports See Packed Capacity

Adjusting for Increased Truck Rates and Reduced Productivity

In a stark contrast to the shipping slowdown seen in the spring, ports in California are seeing significant surges of imports, operating at peak utilization. Subsequently, trucking rates have increased, reflecting the demand of companies looking to move products out of the ports and across the country.  At Sheltered International, our team is adapting to these increased rates, offering updated and flexible quoting options. Read on to learn more about current events impacting shipping, or contact us directly with questions regarding your shipment.

Ports Experiencing Peak Capacity

Demand for PPE, household wares, home exercise equipment, and other e-commerce goods shipped from Asia has stressed the capacity of ports in California, with LA and Long Beach operating at 105% capacity on peak days. As markets begin to reopen, Asian imports have increased 101% from March and year-over-year imports are up by 22%. With retailers eager to bring merchandise to the United States in advance of Lunar New Year and its respective shutdowns, ocean cargo capacity is being pushed even further.

Trucking Rates Increase

With port capacity pushed to the limits, terminal operators are unable to implement dual transactions and dray-offs, which typically are used to increase efficiency. As a result, truck turn times are on a steady decline, increasing from 58 minutes on average in June to 77 minutes in September. With reduced productivity, truck capacity is decreased, leading to a sharp spike in rates. Both truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) rates are increased, with per mile averages up 54% from May and reaching $2.46.

Similarly, reduced productivity has increased container dwell times, consequently impacting port capacity to complete the cycle. As states reopen their markets at different times and with different regulations, demand varies significantly across the country; in conjunction with slowed delivery, this creates what Dean Croke, principal analyst at DAT iQ, calls a “network imbalance.”

How SiShips Can Help

During this heavy peak season, our team can provide your business with updated quotes. While we typically quote China-to-door delivery, we can now provide adjusted LA port-to-door quotes that reflect new rates. Alternatively, you may opt to select your own truck delivery method, using SiShips to obtain a port-to-port quote instead.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team. We’re here to provide you with the information you need to make the best freight forwarding choices.

Get in touch with us today for shipping support.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Continues to Affect Ocean Cargo Capacity

Blank Sailings and Fluctuating Demand Complicate Ocean Freight Forwarding

Lack of demand for ocean freight due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in blank, or canceled, sailings of cargo ships. Though the number of cancellations peaked in February, major shipping companies are still reducing market capacity in an attempt to maintain freight rates. As carriers and shippers aim to strike a balance between fluctuating demand and capacity, it is more important than ever to be aware of the shifts in ocean freight availability and the impact it might have on your business.

blank sailings covid-19

Blank Sailings Increase in Q2

According to data from Drewry, May saw a total of 85 blank sailings out of 457 scheduled sailings, or a cancellation rate of 18.6 percent. For June, this rate decreases to 13 percent, with 58 of a planned 461 sailings have been canceled. Transpacific trade routes have experienced the greatest capacity reduction, with 47 percent sailings blanked.

Positively, cancellations have decreased month/month and the trend is expected to continue into July. However, Danish shipping company Maersk, part of the 2M Alliance, has still announced that it anticipates blanking more than 100 sailings within the upcoming third quarter. Its shares decreased by 6 percent mid-May as a reaction. 2M saw the second-highest number of suspended sailings in June at 34 percent, closely following THE Alliance’s 40 percent.

An Increase in Ocean Freight Demand

Frustrations with lack of airfreight capacity and high rates have been driving shippers to turn to the ocean, at least for a portion of their freight’s journey. “When rates go up, sea-air becomes a viable alternative for cargo that cannot pay high airfreight rates, nor accept all-ocean transit times,” Morten Bach, global chief commercial officer for Shipco, told FreightWaves.

As shippers adapt to account for available capacity, ocean freight demand is increasing. The American Journal of Transportation attributes this surge to the growth of eCommerce, as well as moves to distribute PPE via ocean to relieve shortages. Combined with a greater number of blank sailings, this has generated an uptick in freight rates. The last week of May saw prices jump by 12 percent.

Managing Ocean Freight with SiShips

Supported by a downward cancellation trend, predictions for July show that container-ship carriers are likely to offer more sailings in July. However, despite signs that industry may be starting to resume, industry experts are remaining realistic about the likelihood of a peak season in 2020. The upcoming back-to-school months should bring about a surge of demand, but most think this is unlikely. “There is concern for the ocean shipping industry that a peak season may not materialize at all this year,” Rachel Shames, director of pricing and procurement at CV International, said in an interview with Furniture/Today.

Without an increase in demand spurred on by a peak season, carriers will need to be cautious about continuing to maintain their rates. As a result, it’s likely that blanking will continue well into Q3.

With many factors influencing ocean freight, importing can quickly grow confusing. SiShips, designed with our years of customs and freight forwarding expertise, can help manage variable rates and shipping options. Plus, you can track your shipment every step of the way, offering transparency and peace of mind.

To learn more about how SiShips can save you time and streamline your shipping experience, contact us today.

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What to Know About Coronavirus and Its Effects on the Shipping Industry

How Coronavirus is Affecting Trade with China

After the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2002, medical experts called for stricter quarantine laws regarding international travel, and thus the shipping industry, in the case of a future outbreak. These regulations are now being put into place as coronavirus spreads through the Wuhan province in China. This quarantine is affecting factories in China as well as those in neighboring countries whose employees have been unable to return to work after visiting family in the Hubei region during the Lunar New Year. Reduced production, coupled with concerns for the safety of operating crews on board sea and air vessels, has resulted in significant disruptions for the shipping industry.

coronavirus shipping industryCoronavirus Quarantines and Reduced Exports

Many factories around China have been temporarily closed following the outbreak of the virus, with some not anticipated to open until March 1. With these facilities shuttered, exporters can expect to see similar effects as with the Lunar New Year, which sees the pausing of production for nearly three weeks annually. Delays are typically expected to continue for several weeks following the holiday as well but are being exponentially compounded by the effects of coronavirus. Major corporations, including Hyundai Motor, Deere & Co., and PSA Peugeot Citroen have all been affected by these closures and supply disruptions.

Sea Freight Shipping Demand

With limited production, demand for shipping containers is dropping rapidly, resulting in low freight rates. Sea-Intelligence, a maritime analyst, predicts a loss of $300-350 million weekly for carriers. Further, according to maritime data provider Alphaliner, major Chinese ports have seen a 20% decrease in ship calls since January 20. To combat this, sixteen Chinese ports are offering reduced rates in an attempt to lure liners back in. In contrast, nearby ports like South Korea’s Busan are experiencing spillover and rising container capacities. If these levels continue to rise, ports’ efficiency will be compromised, adding to potential delays.

This reduction has also led to lower demand for oil. With prices seeing a decline beyond the expected from Chinese New Year, refiners are being driven to negotiate and limit crudes runs.

Effects on Air Cargo

Air travel to China has been suspended by nearly all airlines, and flights to and from Hong Kong have also been halted. While some importers anticipated delays on shipments for the Lunar New Year, they are now experiencing disruptions beyond their predictions. Where ocean freight is seeing reductions in shipments, air cargo space is now extremely limited. Cargo on passenger flights has been redirected to available freighters, but these flights have also been drastically reduced or suspended entirely out of concern for the crew’s safety.

Short- and Long-Term Effects

With imports redirected and substantial disruptions in production and exporting, businesses should anticipate delays until mid-March. Experts agree that long-term consequences remain difficult to determine at the time; however, if the SARS epidemic is any indication, Chinese markets will manage to recover once coronavirus has been contained, resulting in only short-term interruptions.

The shipping industry can be unpredictable. Keep track of any delays or disruptions that might affect your business with SiShips.

Learn more about SiShips can simplify your freight experience.

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