Rate war chills reefer market
Liner operators may be strengthening their grip on the refrigerated market, but cannot escape the rate rot
The seaborne perishables trade grew 4% in 2016 to a record 108.5m tonnes.
CONTAINER lines furthered their dominance over traditional reeferships in the seaborne perishables market last year, soaking up volume growth in the sector, but rates still came under downward pressure.
According to Dynamar’s annual reefer report, refrigerated goods transported by sea continued to grow at a faster pace than overall containerised trade in 2016, rising by an estimated 4% on 2015 levels to reach a record 108.5m tonnes. This is equivalent to 16,900 fully laden conventional vessels with an average 500,000 cu ft capacity, or 3.7m loaded 40ft high cube reefer containers.
However, the analysts said the bitter rate war that transpired on the liner trades took no prisoners, as lines chased anything that could serve as a revenue contribution. Reefer cargo no was no exception.
“No cargo was holy,” it said.
On the north-south trades, freight rates for 40ft high cube reefers at times fell as low as $700. This barely covers the additional fuel and maintenance costs demanded by reefer containers, which also cost around six times as much to build than a standard box.
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