The Reefers Future Couldn’t Be Brighter

Michael Shvarzman, Head of Global Reefers & Special Cargo Unit

ZIM’s Global Reefers unit was established at the end of 2015, with a long-term plan of responding to the increased global demand in the cold chain Continuously striving for excellence, we have since increased our planning capabilities, tracking and coordinating reefers flow across our network while exploring new technologies and market developments.

According to Drewry, the Global Reefer Container trade is expected to reach 5.5 million units in 2020 and 6.8 million units by 2024. This represents an average growth of 4.9% per annum.

At ZIM, many countries have stepped up this year focusing on the reefers market, resulting in a significant growth of 12%. We plan to continue with this double-digit growth in the coming years.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be an opportunity for maritime refrigerated transportation with strong demand for perishables and frozen food, as people are currently buying more products than services. Furthermore, there is an increased focus on food and pharmaceuticals transport safety, which results in an increase in shipments of refrigerated cargo. At the same time, we recognize that China is becoming one of the biggest importers of frozen and refrigerated foods, so we have enhanced the efforts of our reefer sales teams globally to develop this segment successfully.

At ZIM we see reefers as a significant growth engine. As part of this vision, we invested in brand new 40’ high-cube reefers in recent years; we are proud of our young reefer fleet with an average age of 5.4 years. We plan to continue with this effort and reach an average age of 3.8 years by 2022, having the youngest reefer fleet in the industry.

From a commercial perspective, we see high potential in some of our main trades, including:

  • Intra-Asia with focus on Thailand, Vietnam, China & India
  • Trans-Pacific focusing on US & Canada
  • Australia & South Africa to Asia
  • Intra-Med & Black Sea, including Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Italy, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, and Israel
  • LATAM, Caribbean & Mexico to North America
  • North Europe to the Mediterranean

Empowered by our customers’ needs and understanding that a professional reefers team with in-depth market knowledge and expertise in commodities is essential, we provide supreme and agile customer support throughout the entire ZIM network.

We know that customers that ship perishable or pharmaceutical cargo are looking for experts and optimum support. We believe that teamwork is the name of the game and strive to establish strong collaborations between our Commercial and Operation teams to ensure customer satisfaction. Last month alone, we chartered a special vessel to position more than 2,000 brand new reefers from Asia. These will serve ZIM customers across the Mediterranean, carrying agricultural produce in advanced, controlled atmosphere and smart ZIMonitor containers.

We plan to continue with this global growth while serving our customers with ZIM’s renowned personal touch.


Written by: Michael Shvarzman, Head of Global Reefers & Special Cargo Unit

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