Maersk Line, the container line that moves more refrigerated cargo than any other carrier, has decided not to purchase any new reefer containers next year.
“Maersk has made the decision not to make an investment in refrigerated containers in 2013 based on the returns we’re seeing,” said William Duggan, vice president of refrigerated services North America.
Customer demand for refrigerated service remains high, he said, but rates on those shipments aren’t high enough to justify further investment next year. “Reefers cost about four times as much as dry containers, and we just don’t see a fair return.”
Between 2008 and 2012, Maersk purchased more than 100,000 new reefer units, bringing the carrier’s global reefer container fleet to about 250,000, he said. Parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk owns a refrigerated container factory in China.
“This isn’t a concerted effort to raise rates,” Duggan said. “It’s simply an effort to contain costs in a very uncertain market.”