Drewry: Increasing shift to containers driving reefer growth
A report just released from Drewry Shipping Consultants said reefer volume and profitability is rising despite a decrease in the size of the dedicated reefer fleet.
'Profits in the reefer sector are on the up reflecting a trend in overall seaborne trade,' said Drewry Managing Director Nigel Gardiner in a statement, as Drewry released its Annual Reefer Shipping Market Review and Forecast 2007-2008. 'The specialized reefer fleet continues to decline in numbers since its peak in 1999. Yet owners and operators still enjoy healthy profits as time charter rates reach record levels.'
At the center of reefer sector dynamics lies the growth of containerization, Drewry said. The report outlines how world reefer trade has grown from 84.6 million tons in 1995 to 132.7 million tons in 2005, a compound annual growth of 4.6 percent. Based on current economic forecasts, reefer trade should show strong growth with world trade in perishables to increase to 199.5 million tons in 2015. Seaborne reefer trade is also forecast to grow significantly, from 73.0 million tons in 2006 to 104.6 million tons in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 4.1 percent.
All this while reefer fleets are shrinking.
'The specialized reefer fleet above 100,000 cubic feet has declined in number from 878 vessels in 1999 to just 786 vessels in 2007,' Drewry said. 'Conversely, the container fleet has increased significantly to a total of over 4,000 vessels (in the first quarter of 2007) with a further 1,265 on order at that time. Container capacity is consequently predicted to increase by almost 50 percent between 2007 and 2010. While the existing container fleet provides 1.25 million TEUs of reefer capacity, offering approximately 1,250 million cubic feet of reefer capacity, the specialized reefer fleet above 100,000 cubic feet provides 321 million cubic feet of capacity — little more than 20 percent of overall reefer capacity.'
In the report, Drewry said this dramatic change is driven partially by the demand from receivers of cargo, but the consultant also questions the extent to which this is being forced by the lack of availability, or investment, in specialized reefer tonnage.
'Cargo volumes are forecast to continue to increase and while individual trades may be lost from specialized reefer tonnage to reefer container tonnage, the global volume of reefer cargo carried by the specialized reefer vessels may be far less affected,' Drewry said. 'The overall message is that the specialized reefer industry is likely to continue to lose market share but, for those who remain, a healthy future — and least for now — is likely.'
JF Hillebrand launches bulk wine division
JF Hillebrand, a forwarder that specializes in transporting beverages, has launched a new division dedicated to bulk transportation of wine.
The decision follows the company’s acquisition earlier this year of Trans Ocean Distribution (TOD), a company that makes flexibag liners that allow liquid products to be carried in standard 20-foot freight containers.
“JF Hillebrand’s unrivalled knowledge of beverage transport, coupled with TOD’s expertise in the design, construction and use of flexibags makes a formidable team,” said Brendan McKenna, a member of JF Hillebrand executive board. “Hillebrand Bulk will be able to provide customers the best possible service for the transport of wine in bulk, with technical expertise and customer service that is second to none.”
Hillebrand notes that a container can move twice as much wine in bulk as it can when the wine is bottled, thus reducing transport costs as well as greenhouse gases.
Hillebrand, headquartered in Mainz, Germany, is 40 percent owned by the European investment company COBEPA, 30 percent owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and 30 percent by management and family. The head office in the United States is in Rahway, N.J.