Shipping analyst firm, Drewry in its latest Reefer Shipping Market Annual Review and Forecast has predicted that reefer capacity on the containership fleet is expected to increase by 22 per cent over the next five years.
Reefer box capacity is expected to grow from 1.6million 40ft slots in 2014 to 1.9million slots in 2019.
The firm however said fleet growth is not expected to adversely impact vessel utilization levels because of growth in cargo.
It said: “Reefer container volumes are forecast to rise by 2015 tons over this period, 16.5million tons by organic growth and 4 million tons at the expense of the shrinking specialized reefer industry. Overall seaborne perishable reefer trade will increase by 17 per cent between 2014 and 2014, providing an additional 16.5 million tons of cargo.
“As a result of the expected cargo growth, reefer container slot utilization levels will be unchanged in 2015 and only marginally lower thereafter,” said Kevin Harding, at the firm.
He added, “Meanwhile, the specialized reefer sector is forecast to shrink further as a result of scrapping and a virtually empty order book.”
Also the firm observed that the specialized sector’s continuing market share decline, was reinforced by leading operator Seatrade’s recent order for two 500 forty equivalent unit container vessels.
However, it is worth noting that although the specialized reefer fleet provided little more than seven per cent of overall reefer capacity, it carried almost 28 per cent of the estimated perishable reefer cargo in 2013.
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