Drewry Shipping Consultants have launched their latest annual review of the reefer shipping sector with a positive forecast for recovery but a warning about an impending battle between the two types of reefer fleet.
Although seaborne reefer trade fell in 2009, it is expected to make a robust recovery over the next few years. Meanwhile, the modal war that is pitching specialist reefer against container fleets will intensify. The specialist reefer fleet has been shrinking for some time. By mid 2010, the specialized reefer fleet above 100,000cft had fallen to 727 vessels -- down 17 percent in under 10 years. The scrapping of specialized vessels has also increased since 2008 - averaging 37 vessels per year over the last two years. By contrast, the number of newbuild containerships due to come on stream in the next two years, is greater than the whole of the remaining specialized fleet. This divergence between the two modes could see the specialized sector account for as little as 8.4 percent of capacity berthed by 2012. Clearly containerships are set to dominate the market even further than they currently do.
Commenting on the review, managing director Nigel Gardiner had this to say: "Ironically, the projected growth in seaborne reefer trade favors the specialized type of vessel. Yet this growth cannot be accommodated by the specialized fleets handing the container operators a golden opportunity to increase their market share. Rationalization within the specialized sector has accelerated in the past 12 months. There could be interesting times ahead to see whether the specialized operators rise to what could be a significant commercial opportunity for them or continue their decline."
The "Reefer Shipping Market Review and Forecast 2010/11" is available for purchase from Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd.
Source: Drewry Shipping Consultants
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