Maersk Line CEO Soren Skou has warned shippers of refrigerated cargoes for several weeks that they are going to have to start paying more. Today he said the “more” amounts to $1,500 per FEU and the rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1.
In announcing the hike, Skou said the reefer sector required substantially higher investment than the dry sector and that rates currently are not keeping up with inflation. He said the container industry needs to invest $3.5 billion in new reefers during the next three years to keep up with expected increases in market demand.
The $1,500 per 40-foot-equivalent unit container will be imposed on a global basis and be consistent throughout commodity types, trade lanes and geographic origins. The $1,500 per box amounts to an average of 30 percent per shipment.
That multibillion investment is based on increasing the fleet and doesn’t include containers that are purchased to replace those put out of service each year because of age or needed repairs. Maersk said the industry as a whole will need to spend $1.7 billion this year alone to replace scrapped refrigerated containers.
Maersk has been the dominant carrier in container purchases for years, buying 210,550 TEUs since 2008. That fleet expansion is coming to an abrupt halt, however. Last month, Skou decided the carrier would buy no new reefers in 2013, even for replacement purposes. That means the carrier’s reefer fleet will shrink when obsolete boxes are scrapped during the year.