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Containership Refrigerated-cargo Capacity Expected to Increase 22 Percent by 2019

Reefer capacity on the containership fleet is expected to increase by 22 percent over the next five years, at the expense of a declining specialized reefer fleet, according to Drewry's latest Reefer Shipping Market Annual Review & Forecast.

Reefer box capacity is expected to grow from 1.6 million 40-foot slots in 2013 to 1.9 million slots in 2018. However, this fleet growth is not expected to adversely impact vessel utilization levels thanks to strong cargo growth.

Reefer container volumes are forecast to rise by 20.5 million tonnes over this period, 16.5 million tonnes by organic growth and 4 million tonnes at the expense of the shrinking specialized reefer industry. Overall seaborne perishable reefer trade will increase by 17 percent between 2013 and 2018, providing an additional 16.5 million tonnes of cargo.

“As a result of the expected cargo growth, reefer container slot utilization levels will be unchanged in 2015 and only marginally lower thereafter,” said Kevin Harding, the report editor. “Meanwhile, the specialized reefer sector is forecast to shrink further as a result of scrapping and a virtually empty order book.”

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