Global average reefer freight rates recorded only increases over the last 12 months, even during off-peak seasons, according to Drewry.
Although reefer trades have a reputation for volatility in volumes and freight rates, the shipping consultancy’s Global Reefer Freight Rate Index showed that these rates were up for the 4th consecutive quarter, as shipping lines “gain control of shippers’ purses.”
“The recent wave of carrier consolidation, which will continue well into 2018, is having a direct impact on global market structure,” Stijn Rubens, senior consultant at Drewry Supply Chain Advisors, said.
“As shipping lines gradually regain control of prevailing freight rates, the markets are becoming increasingly tight with behaviours one would more commonly associate with oligopoly conditions. The recent drop in investment in reefer containers only lends further weight to our expectations of further rate increases during 2018,” Rubens added.