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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Maritime Logistics Professional

April 13, 2022

Reefer Rates Offer First Signs of Easing, says Xeneta

Source: Xeneta

Source: Xeneta

Despite months of softening on the backhaul North Europe to Far East trade, with rates on the spot market closing in on $1,000 per FEU for normal-dry containers, spot rates for reefer containers on this trade have been stable since early 2021, averaging $5,300 per 40’ reefer on April 11, 2022, according to a recent research note published by Xeneta.

The long-term market, on the other hand, has shown its first signs of easing this year, dropping between Q1 and Q2, though only by $200 per reefer, still leaving the average long-term contract signed within the past three months at $4,300 per 40’ reefer, close to double what they were in 2019.

North Europe to Far East trade is a backhaul trade when looking at total container volumes, but when it comes to reefer containers only, this eastbound trade is the busier of the two, with around twice as many reefer cargoes going from North Europe to the Far East compared to the other way.

In the second half of 2021, the average premium on this trade for reefers compared to dry containers was $1,700 on the spot market and $1,600 on the long-term market. Both premiums have more than doubled, averaging $4,200 on the spot and $3,200 on the long-term market so far in April.
The rising prices for reefer compared to dry containers has little to do with underlying demand, as this has fallen year-on-year for both container types so far in 2022. Pushing reefer rates up is an equipment shortage, with many shippers struggling to get hold of the containers they need.
Reefer containers returning from the Far East have to compete with dry containers paying the same spot rates, making the more complex reefer boxes less attractive to carriers.

On both the short and long-term markets, rates for reefer containers are currently lower than those for dry containers: $150 on the short and $1,100 per container on the long-term market.