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Cool Cargoes October 2015

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COOL CARGOES 12 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE OCTOBER 2015 F OR THE BETTER part of the last decade, global container shipping lines have struggled with uncertain cargo volumes and overcapacity in the wake of the global economic fi nancial cri- ses. That's a sharp contrast to the reefer business, which for the most part is main- taining an upward trajectory. Ma jor container carriers such as Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co., United Arab Shipping Co., Hamburg Sud and Hapag-Lloyd are among those mak- ing signifi cant investments in their reefer business to help offset slower growth in other business areas. "The temperature-controlled sec- tor is appealing because, historically, its global growth has been very high, in the area of 5 to 6 percent annually," said Ole Schack Petersen, global head of com- mercial-reefer management for Maersk. "There's a belief that as GDP and avail- able income rise across the globe, more foodstuffs are being bought. Of course, everyone acknowledges the reality that once you've bought what you need, you don't buy more vegetables just because you can afford them, but the (sector's) historic performance and existing trend lines are incredibly compelling." He said reefer traffic accounts for 10 percent of Maersk's total volume and about 15 percent of revenue, numbers he expects to grow. As the world's biggest shipping line with a business portfolio that touches ever y cor ner of t he world , M a er sk enjoys a competitive advantage in the g loba l reefer ma rket . " T he ma rket s that increa sed considerably through the (2000s) are becoming more normal growth areas, but with the footprint we have in a number of so-called emerg- ing markets, we anticipate seeing our g r ow t h , i n r ef r i ger a t e d a nd t r a d i - tional container shipments alike to be higher than most of the competition," Petersen said. Industr y wide, reefer capacity on container ships is expected to increase 22 percent during the next five years, according to London-based consulting fi rm and analyst Drewry. Furthermore, it estimates reefer container volumes will increase by 20.5 million tons over this period, and reefer box capacity will grow to 1.9 million slots by 2018. A portent of that future occurred this summer when Hapag-Lloyd invested in 6,000 reefer containers, the largest order in the German container carrier's history. "We operate a state-of-the-art reefer fl eet that is the fourth-largest in the world," CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said in a statement when the investment was announced. "We are expanding our leading position even Efforts to grow market share and satisfy demand are driving container carrier purchases By Lara L. Sowinski

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