Drewry: Specialised Reefers Punching above Their Weight

Tonnage provision and forecast cargo share for the specialised reefer ships will continue to reduce in coming years, but these ships will keep carrying a disproportionate share of the reefer cargo, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

Specialised reefers last year provided just 5% of the world’s reefer capacity, but carried over 23% of the cargo as the specialised mode’s USP of a Fast, Direct and Dedicated (FDD) service “appeals to many industry segments” and will ensure that its disproportionate cargo-to-tonnage share will continue.

However, even though the specialised mode will continue to punch above its weight in terms of market share, its decline – both in terms of number of vessels and market share – is inevitable, Drewry said.

As of mid-2016 Drewry pegged the specialised reefer capacity at 231.9 million cubic feet, dwarfed by the reefer capacity on containerships that stood at 4,242 million cubic feet.

With an average age of 26 years and a limited newbuilding orderbook, the future of the specialised reefers contrasts heavily with that of the reefer containership fleet – with an average age of 12 years and an orderbook comprising over 400 vessels.

Improving container technology along with the containership lines’ attraction to the relatively high-paying reefer cargo will ensure its desire to increase market share continues too, according to Drewry.

The rate at which this modal split widens continues will be dependent, in part, upon how quickly the aged and specialised reefer fleet is dispatched to the scrapyards.

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