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New Flexport Index Shows Ocean Times Along Trade Routes

Flexport has introduced the Ocean Timeliness Indicator (OIT), which measures the amount of time taken to ship freight from the point at which cargo is ready to leave the exporter to when it is collected from its destination port.

The ocean shipping world tends to run along “trade lanes,” Flexport noted, with the two biggest ones carrying goods from Asia to North America, and from Asia to Europe, and the OTI captures timeliness on each of these. The Transpacific Eastbound (TPEB) measure hit its longest on record in the last week of November, while the Far East Westbound (FEWB) measure is near its October high.

The OTI utilizes data from Flexport’s ocean shipping operations for an expansive view of a container’s journey. Updated on a weekly basis, it shows the time taken to transit from the “cargo ready date” at exporters’ gate to the “destination port departure date” when products are ready to leave the port to go to importers. Measures are shown for FEWB and TPEB routes.

For the week ended Nov. 28, the OTI for both the FEWB and TPEB routes was at or close to their highest since Flexport’s calculations started in March 2019. TPEB reached a record 105 days, reflecting an increase in the time taken to get from cargo ready to origin departure. Flexport said this would suggest increased challenges in moving products from exporters’ locations to the Asian ports before shipping occurs.

The time taken to leave the American arrival port after the shipping vessels’ arrival declined in recent weeks, indicating some success in the debottlenecking projects and incentives initiated by the port operators.

FEWB remained at 107 days, just below the record set at the end of October of 109 days. The dip from the earlier peak reflects reduced arrival port handling time offset in part by increased at-sea shipping duration.

Flexport today serves more than 10,000 clients and suppliers across more than 200 countries, offering a full range of services, including ocean, air, truck and rail freight, drayage and cartage, warehousing, customs brokerage, financing and insurance, all informed and powered by its software platform.