Cool Cargoes: Where Is the Reefer Market Headed?

With shipping analyst Drewry forecasting that seaborne refrigerated cargo carried by container ships and specialized reefer operators will exceed 134 million metric tons by 2021, growth in global reefer cargos shows no signs of cooling. Frozen goods were especially strong in 2017, rising more than 5 percent year over year, to 124 million metric tons, a big improvement over the average 3.6 percent annual growth of the past 10 years, according to Drewry. Drewry also estimates that containerized reefer traffic expanded 8 percent in 2017, outpacing the growth in overall seaborne reefer trade, as shippers continued to shift cargo from the declining specialized reefer fleet to containers. But for refrigerated shippers, that growth presents new and familiar challenges amid changing market dynamics. 
The carrier consolidation that swept through the industry in 2016 leaves reefer BCOs among the most prone to service-related disruption, equipment shortages, and tight capacity. The latter is especially critical, with the overcapacity that led to favorable freight pricing for shippers giving way to supply-demand balance and increasing rates. And, depending on the trade lane, the top three containerized carriers now control 70 to 80 percent of reefer trade, according to Thomas Eskesen, founder of Netherlands-based refrigerated consultant Eskesen Advisory. A big question going forward is how new tariffs on US, Chinese, European, and other goods will impact trade in such goods as beef, pork, poultry, and various frozen goods. 
This webcast will feature Martin Dixon, director and head of research projects for Drewry, who will analyze these issues and discuss the key takeaways from the company’s just-released 2018-2019 Annual Reefer Shipping Review and Forecast. 
Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor,, The Journal of Commerce, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit
Martin Dixon, Director and Head of Research Products, Drewry
Interested in sponsoring this webcast? For more information, please contact Tony Stein at
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 11:00