NOVA MEDIA PUBLISHING INC.

Demand for Reefer Containers Could Grow 200%

31.10.2018

The demand for reefer containers could triple. In a presentation at the Cool Logistics conference in Antwerp, Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Director of Global Reefer Management at Maersk Line, said that the shortage of refrigerated containers that has been experienced in recent years could worsen much more, as aging conventional reefer vessel are forced to leave the market because of IMO emissions regulations.

Karlsen noted that the global reefer fleet is under pressure since 2015, as refrigerated cargo grew between 5% and 6%, while the fleet only increased an average of 2.8%. Carriers are still struggling to position teams outside of Asia.

Maersk is reviewing the figures, and Karlsen stressed that this is only an "early estimate", but IMO regulations could boost the growth of demand for reefer containers from 6% in 2018 to 12% by 2020, possibly rising to 15% in 2021 and 2022, she said. To further aggravate the problem, Asia is the fastest growing market, which will increase the turnaround times of refrigerated containers for all operators.

On the supply side, reefer container and machinery manufacturers will also be pressured if demand multiplies by three. Orders for reefer containers increased significantly in 2018, and manufacturers are on track to produce 300,000 new TEUs this year.

This is still a part of the estimated 430,000 TEUs of production capacity that the reefer container factories, which are now in China, can produce in a year working two shifts.

However, if the demand suddenly tripled, the industry would face a major supply problem and, probably, the prices of reefer containers would rise

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