Drewry’s Global Reefer Container Freight Rate Index is a weighted average of rates across the top 15 reefer intensive deep-sea trade routes. It went up 32% over the year to 2Q21 and by the end of 3Q21 these gains are expected to reach as much as 50%.
According to hellenicshippingnews.com¸ the key driver of reefer freight rate inflation has been capacity related, as perishables shippers have competed with higher paying dry freight BCOs for scarce containership slots, despite ample reefer plug capacity provision.
The contraction in overall seaborne perishables trade in 2020 was much milder than for dry cargo. The trade was particularly impacted by a locked down hospitality sector which reduced demand for deciduous fruit, fresh vegetables and frozen potatoes.
Further rate increase expected, but at a slower rate
Drewry’s composite World Container Index (WCI) increased marginally by 0.4% or US$41 to US$9,371.30 per 40ft container, according to the latest report on 5 August, remaining 370% higher than a year ago.