CONCERN is mounting over a shortage of reefer containers at a time when 60,000 are being ordered while 140,000 are needed, reports London’s Loadstar. Content from Cool Logistics Global Conference
The problem as been exacerbated by the outbreak of African swine fever in China, which has wiped out a large part of the country’s pork stock, precipitating a surge in imports to make up the shortfall.
Seabury Consulting said China has been the biggest driver of a seven per cent rise in demand for reefer containers this year. In the first eight months of 2019, China has taken 60,000 TEU of a total of 84,000 TEU of frozen meat shipped in containers.
Pork exporters in Europe and Latin America have registered growth of 26 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, to China this year. China also accounts for 25 per cent of the global containerised trade in beef this year.
With the exception of Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM, shipping lines have neglected investment in reefer containers for years.
Drewry’s Reefer Shipping Annual Review & Forecast 2019/20, notes production has recovered, and that growth of 4.5 per cent is expected over the next five years, but that will be not be ‘sufficient to bring supply back into equilibrium’.
Both the global head of sea freight reefer logistics at Kuehne + Nagel Frank Ganse and Thomas Eskesen, founder of Eskesen Advisory, said they expect no improvement next year.
While demand for reefer capacity has increased, the share of this traffic carried by reefer vessels is on the decline, a trend threatening to further aggravate the shortage of reefer containers.