Container fleets erode specialist reefers

The future of specialised reefer vessels is in question as container fleets continued to erode their market in 2009, according to Drewry’s annual report into the market.

However the news is not all bad. Trade growth was hampered across all shipping sectors last year as a result of the economic downturn, and a return to growth in the coming year is expected to see reefer containers take most of the market.

“Reefer containers with their increased flexibility and often more competitive rates are dominating this sector … predictions for total specialised reefer fleet size see it falling [from 763] to between 458 and 635 vessels by January 2015,” Drewry Managing Director Nigel Gardiner said.

Drewry identifies increasing time charter rates in 2010, as well as an aging specialised reefer fleet. The report finds only ten new specialised reefer vessels on order worldwide compared with over a thousand container vessels.