Container shipping lines are increasing their share of the seaborne reefer market and will keep growing 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.
New cargo carriers may be getting ready to compete as Drewry has found that the estimated perishable reefer cargo split will have changed from 79% in reefer containerships and 21% in specialized reefers in 2016 to nearer 85% and 15% by 2021.
The consultancy has highlighted this year’s unusual coupling between reefer operator Seatrade and container line operator CMA CGM as potentially the start of a new trend that sees similar partnerships forming between other lines.
In 2017, Drewry has incorporated the pharmaceuticals, cut flowers and confectionery sectors into its assessment of the reefer market, adding up to 3.3 million tonnes of seaborne cargo in 2016.
The latest PTI technical paper from Drewry's Rahul Sharan has found that a gradually narrowing supply-demand gap has been improving the dry bulk market
By 2021, seaborne reefer cargo will exceed 134 million tonnes – increasing by an average of 2.8% per annum, according to Drewry’s report.
However, Drewry has warned that a potential lack of reefer container equipment should be a cause of concern to shippers as less investment has already led to shortages in Europe and Brazil during the second quarter of this year.
Kevin Harding, Drewry’s Report Editor, said: “The reefer sector continues to report strong cargo growth which is very encouraging for vessel operators.
“However, the transition from the specialized operators to the reefer containership operators is gaining momentum.”