Baltic Reefers takes over from Seatrade as world’s top conventional reefer operator

Baltic Reefers has taken over from Seatrade as the top conventional reefer ship operator for the first time in its history with a capacity share of 12.4%, according to analysis just released by Dynamar.

At the end of 2017, the world’s ten largest conventional reefer ship operators combined commercially deployed 211 vessels, comprising 97.6m cu ft of reefer space, equalling 49% of the world conventional reefer ship fleet capacity.

Baltic Reefers including its separately operating subsidiary Cool Carriers, is, for the first time, the biggest player with a capacity share of 12.4% (24.2m cu ft). The Seatrade Reefer Pool slips into second with 11.5%, ahead of the GreenSea Pool, to which Seatrade also contributes ships.

As of the end of last year, the conventional reefer orderbook counted 13 reeferships of all sizes with a total deadweight capacity of 126,000 tons, 9,700 dwt average and all for delivery in 2018/19. Included are four 300,000 cu ft ships for Seatrade.

Dynamar notes some intriguing conventional reefer ship orders have been placed including the largest to be ever built, clocking in at 30% larger than the current ones afloat. The specific giants under construction mentioned are two 22,300 dwt/880,000 cu ft, 560 teu for non-operating owner Nissen Kaiun of Japan being built at Shikoku Dockyard for delivery late 2018/early 2019. Dynamar also noted the two Delmonte 20,000 dwt/800,000 cu ft, 600 teu ships on order at Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard for delivery late 2019 and early 2020.

“Would this usher an era of fewer but larger conventional reefers vessels, paralleling fewer but larger box ships?” the analysts mused in their annual reefer report.

A total of 24 conventional reefer ships of all sizes built between 1970 and 2001 were scrapped in 2017, three of which were total loss. It is the highest number since 2012, when no less than 70 units fell victim of the torch.

“With an average of nearly 30 years and an altogether limited newbuilding activity, the conventional reefer ship fleet is doomed to decline further and steadily,” the report stated.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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