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            december 10, 2019

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IRFC 2020

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Conventional reefer vessels lose further market share


The transport of fresh produce by sea grew by five per cent to 116 million tonnes in 2017, and containerised reefer traffic grew by eight per cent.
However, conventional reefer vessels which have a traditional cargo operation with top opening hatches, have lost ground. Down from some 55 per cent in 2000, the share of conventional carriers in the transport of refrigerated perishables has now dropped to just over 18 per cent, according to Dynamar's 2018 REEFER Analysis - Market Structure, Conventional, Containers.
Despite a relatively small fleet of 574 ships with a 183.9 million cft capacity, the conventional reefer fleet is rather fragmented. The 15 largest carriers operate 56 per cent of the fleet in terms of capacity. The largest of these is Baltic Shipping/Cool Carrier with 11.0 per cent. As they operate relatively large units, by number of vessels they are responsible for only 40 per cent of the fleet.
Most fruit traders, however, are increasingly dependent on dedicated (full reefer) container ships, and only part of their required transport needs is performed by conventional reefers, according to The Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Most container ship operators are, to a degree, involved in the transport of reefer boxes, but only a few have a network of services, the suitable capacity and the equipment to be considered a major reefer operator. Ever fewer carriers qualify as major reefer operators, and whereas a few years ago Dynamar compiled the top 15, it is now difficult to put together a top 10. These top 10 deploy 767 ships in total, with an aggregate 4.33 million TEU and 557,750 million reefer plugs, which are deployed in (North-South) relevant trades.
As a result of the IMO 2020 sulfur cap, Dynamar expects many old and fuel-hungry conventional reefer ships will be scrapped. For a time at least, both conventional reefer operators and container ship operators will receive a boost from the reduction in trade capacity, helping offset the new higher fuel costs.

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