Drewry: Reefer shipping is still robust
Drewry Shipping Consultants said despite the credit crunch and downturn in some trades, the refrigerated shipping sector is still robust.
In the most recent edition of its annual report on refrigerated cargo, Drewry forecasts reefer volumes will grow from 153 million tons in 2007 to 215 million tons by 2015, of which 109 million tons will be seaborne. It noted that since 2000, when volume was 114 million tons, the industry has had a compound annual growth rate of 4.2 percent.
The company said the bulk of seaborne refrigerated cargo will be carried in containers, and that the number of specialized breakbulk reefer ships is declining.
In mid-2008, Drewry estimates there were 11.4 million TEUs of container reefer capacity. It expects container reefer capacity to grow by 69 percent by 2013.
The fleet of specialized reefer vessels with greater than 100,000 cubic feet of capacity stood at 789 vessels in mid-2008, said Drewry, providing 271 million cubic feet of under-deck space. That’s a 12 percent reduction in the number of vessels and 9 percent in under-deck reefer capacity since its peak in 1999. Drewry estimates the fleet will drop to 642 vessels by January 2015.
“As a result of capacity limitations, the volume of cargo carried by the specialized reefer fleets is predicted to reduce from 35.5 million tons in 2007 to 32 million tons in 2015,” said Nigel Gardiner, managing director. “Newbuild orders of specialized reefer vessels remain scarce. Of the top six operators who dominate this sector, only two have newbuildings in the pipeline meaning that only 16 vessels are planned for delivery between 2009 and 2014.”
Bananas accounted for about 22 percent of all seaborne perishable reefer cargo in 2007 and the fastest growing commodities are exotic fruits such as pineapples, kiwifruit and avocados.