LONDON's Drewry Maritime Research expects reefer containerships to move 23 per cent more cargo by 2019 than it did 2014 when 100 million tonnes of containerised cargo was carried by ship.
The maritime analyst expects the seaborne reefer trade to grow by an average of 2.5 per cent per year.
This optimistic growth forecast is backed up by the Cool Chain Association's (CCA) estimate that China and India's cold chain capacity were both growing at 25 per cent per year and would generate revenues of US$75 billion and $13 billion, respectively, by 2017, reported Lloyd's Loading List.
"Temperature controlled logistics is expected to grow by nine per cent every year, leading to a global cool chain industry worth around $16.7 billion by 2020," said CCA chairman Sebastiaan Scholte.
To meet demand for cold chain logistics, Maersk Line has just ordered 14,800 new reefers boxes on top of the 30,000 it purchased last year, making its reefer fleet the biggest in the world with 270,000 units.
This follows an earlier announcement by Hapag-Lloyd that it has invested in a further 5,750 refrigerated containers to support the growth of its perishables and pharmaceuticals services. The first of the reefer boxes will be delivered in October.
The extra temperature-controlled capacity and investment is much needed. The CCA calculates that in China alone, 12 million tonnes of fruit and 130 million tonnes of vegetables are damaged each year at an estimated cost of $20 billion as only five per cent of these perishables are transported using appropriate cold chain equipment.
According to the CCA, pharma shippers suffer annual losses of up to $35 billion resulting from wasted pharmaceutical product temperature excursions, most of which takes place during shipment, delegates at a CCA event in Dubai were told.
Shippers of perishables and pharma products are now, however, benefiting from technological advances, including unit load devices (ULDs) with rechargeable batteries, more efficient covers for protecting temperature-sensitive cargo, real-time global tracking, and the deployment of 'nearfield" communications (NFC) to more accurately monitor and better protect pharmaceutical products.
Source : HKSG.