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HANSA 02-2019

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Schifffahrt | Shipping

Schifffahrt | Shipping The world is hungry for perishables Demand for reefer transports is increasing and industry experts even predict a capacity shortage on the vessel as well as the equipment side. The trend towards containerization and more efficient vessels will not be positive for all players, the Cool Logistics Global Conference showed The industry expects demand for containerized transport of perishable goods to rise significantly in the coming years due to a more general trend towards containerization of goods. This was one of the key take-aways from the conference held in Antwerp in October 2018. Maersk Line expects a 6% increase in demand in 2019, further going up to 15% in 2021 and 2022. The fast growing Asian market and a shift from traditional South-North to East- West routes might increase reefer box turn times for the carriers, bringing along a shortage of equipment. Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Global Head of Reefer Management at Maersk, warned of serious capacity shortages regarding vessel slots as well as equipment. Maersk subsidiary Maersk Container Industries (MCI) announced in early January that they will shut down their dry container production in China to focus solely on reefer manufacturing in the future. Zerlang Karlsen estimated the annual global capacity for new reefer production at 430,000 TEU, with approximately 300,000 boxes to be made this year. So, a tripling of demand could lead to supply problems and higher prices (currently at 17,000 $/reefer container). In 2018, major carriers already invested heavily in new reefer equipment, ONE ordered 14,000 new boxes, Hapag-Lloyd more than 11,000 and MSC 7,000. At the same time, demand for reefer containers featuring controlled atmosphere technology and monitoring solutions rises. While demand for containerized reefer transports increases, things do not look good for conventional reefer vessels. Conference chairman Ole Schack Petersen, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Lauritzen Cool Logistics (LCL) Maersk’s estimate of potential reefer growth due to the IMO 2020 regulation and Broom Group, even predicted a »brutal wave of scrapping« for the segment in 2019 and 2020. In fact, banana producer Chiquita announced to take their traditional reefer vessels out of service and replace them by modern reefer container vessels in January. The Star class and ICE class ships will be replaced by 2,500 TEU vessels which will conclude the containerization of Chiquita transports. The IMO’s global sulphur cap, that will enter into force in 2020, will contribute greatly to this trend as the cleaner fuel will likely be more expensive, putting older and inefficient specialized reefer tonnage at a clear disadvantage. Meanwhile, persisting container ship overcapacity and the ship size growth are setting yet another trend, said Schack-Petersen, who previously worked as Global Head of Reefer Marketing at Maersk Line in an Interview after the event. According to him, the large ships are »cannibalising« the smaller vessels on head-haul and back-haul routes. »Small container vessels will not be able to compete, whether run by carriers or fruit majors, as the liner carriers will completely control the containerised volumes of what, in the reefer business, we traditionally consider back-haul and which the lines consider their head-haul,« he said. This will concern exports of mainly dry cargo exports from the USA and Europe to Latin America or West Africa. Smaller vessels left with few back-haul volumes »and an ›out-of-kilter‹ utilisation factor between head-haul and back-haul« will have an even bigger CO2 footprint for each fruit carried, Schack Petersen explained. But in the longer term, the reefer boom might level off, the cool logistics veteran thinks. He pointed to the trend in the US and Europe towards buying more locally-grown produce. Thus, frozen products (meats in general) will eventually plateau and even decline in the long term. »Also, societies both in the East and West will eventually revert to consume more local fresh produce during their seasons and eat more and more farmed seafood,« he said. Furthermore, the need to reduce single trip transportation by sea and road and cut CO2 emissions might leave no place for half-empty ships in the future. But before this might happen, things do look good on the perishables front – at least on the container market. In 2018, a growth of about 6% has pushed global reefer volumes up by 256,000 TEU, mainly driven by frozen products, reported Ronald Veldman of consultancy Seabury at the Cool Logistics conference. fs © Maersk Line 46 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 156. Jahrgang – 2019 – Nr. 2

Schifffahrt | Shipping MISSIONS COMPLETED Friesland Kabel – Member of Faber-Group HANSA International Maritime Journal – 156. Jahrgang – 2019 – Nr. 2 47

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