Neglected sector gets new lease of life after ‘strongest period of trading in a decade’
Reefer time charter rates surged by 50% in the first quarter of 2021 on the back of disruption in container markets and an upturn in demand for traditional trades, marking the sector’s strongest run in a decade.
The ISB Seafield Reefer Index — measuring charter rates for vessels of between 260,000 cbf and 470,000 cbf — hit a seven-year high of 1,500 points in April, after owners sought to cash in on exceptional catches of squid off the coasts of Argentina and the Falkland Islands.
This sucked up 30 vessels in a market with little surplus capacity and where time charter rates for large reefer vessels have doubled to more than $1 per cbf this year.
The fizzing market has since experienced a small correction after an armada of reefer vessels ballasted to the south-west Atlantic where demand had peaked, which caused a drop of 4% to 1,308 points by the beginning of May.
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