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Report predicts a loss in shares for specialized reefer carriers

Container shipping lines are increasing their share of the seaborne reefer market and are forecast to accelerate their assault over the coming years, according to the latest edition of the Reefer Shipping Market Review and Forecast 2017/18 published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

In 2016, the estimated perishable reefer cargo split was 79 percent in reefer containerships and 21 percent in specialized reefers. By 2021 this modal split is forecast to have changed to nearer 85 percent and 15 percent in reefer containerships and specialized reefers respectively.

Drewry has continued to analyze the total global TEU of perishable reefer cargoes by commodity. In addition, the report looks at almost 30 key trade lanes and compares reefer TEU volumes for 2016 with those for 2015, as well as calculating the reefer percentage of the overall (reefer and dry) trade.

One area to watch is the potential lack of reefer container equipment. A lack of recent investment has already led to shortages in Europe and Brazil during the second quarter of this year, a situation that is likely to repeat itself. Although carrier consolidation may result in an improvement in container utilization and efficiency, the lack of container equipment orders placed in 2017 is a concern.

“The reefer sector continues to report strong cargo growth which is very encouraging for vessel operators,” said Drewry’s report editor Kevin Harding. “However, the transition from the specialized operators to the reefer containership operators is gaining momentum.”

Publication date: 10/5/2017


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