The proportion of container ships globally that made deliveries on time reached a 12-month high of 67.6 per cent in April, according to Drewry Maritime Research.
The figure is 4.1 per cent up on March and compares with the previous high of 64.3 per cent in October 2014.
Drewry, which started reporting on-time performance in May 2014, said routes between Europe and Asia were the most reliable, with around 75 per cent on time in April, followed by the transpacific (54 per cent) and transatlantic routes, where around 49 per cent were on time.
Maersk Line was the most reliable carrier in April (85 per cent), followed by OOCL (77 per cent), Mitsui OSK Lines and NYK Line (both 74 per cent), Wan Hai Lines (51 per cent) and Pacific International Lines (40 per cent).
Drewry said reduced port congestion and receding fallout from the implementation of new business alliances led to the improvement.
Simon Heaney, senior manager of supply chain research at Drewry, said: “Drewry expected the upturn in reliability following the end of these exceptional circumstances.
“We expect further improvements in the next few months, but as on-time performances are approaching the historical ceilings, they might only be marginal.”