GLOBAL reefer trades should obtain a degree of normality in 2024, according to the annual review of the market by independent Dutch consultancy Dynamar.

In its Reefer Analysis – Conventional, Containers, Markets, Fleets Dynamar suggests the year 2023 will be seen as a transitional year from the heady days of 2022 to, “hopefully, business as usual in 2024”.

“In the good times, due to an exceptionally tight and imbalanced container shipping market, the conventional reefer sector was able to attract lots of cargo at very attractive rates. Once the container market relaxed, its freight rates dropped tremendously, and so did the rates of conventional reefer ships,” the consultancy says.

“Reefer volumes declining, new container capacity pouring in and a rise in scrapping are the recipe for exciting times. Especially when for the first time in two decades there is a substantial conventional reefer order book.

“Whilst the traditional perishable traders, Chiquita (Great White Fleet), Del Monte (Network Shipping) and Dole (Dole Ocean Cargo Express) are withdrawing from the conventional segment, others like Compagnie Fruitière (Africa Express Line) and Cool Carriers still see a market for this specialised ship. Also, in the fish trade conventional reefers are still common.

“Meanwhile, container carriers continue doing what they are good at: carrying boxes. With congestion a thing of the past and transport volumes reduced, in combination with less congestion, there is plenty of shipboard capacity available, some of which is cascaded to relevant container trades triggering substantial changes to their services networks,” Dynamar posits.

The publication builds upon the analyses of the previous years and comprises three parts: two separate sections on the different conventional and container reefer trades, based on an extensive write up and one section analysing the structure of the market. The latest edition of the publication also includes forecasts for perishable trade as well as for fleet developments.

Dynama claims the report publication uses the most recent trade statistics (up to 2022) on reefer commodities by country and area, supplemented with up-to-date port, vessel, box and carrier fleet statistics and “gives a profound insight into the background, characteristics, developments and present status of the worldwide shipping market of perishables and the relevant players”.