Expect and adapt to the reality of bigger ships, more alliances and continued slow steaming in the Latin reefer container trades. This was a central message from Julian Thomas, CEO Region East Coast South America for Hamburg Süd and Aliança, in his keynote address to shippers and other members of the Latin perishable logistics community at the 1st Cool Logistics Americas conference in Sâo Paulo.
Thomas told delegates that Hamburg Süd will invest US$122m this year in 6,000 new 40ft high cube reefer containers, buying 2,000 for replacement and 4,000 to grow its fleet to 54,000 units. But he cautioned that the financial situation of container carriers was still extremely tight, with average operating margins stuck in the red for most of 2013. The focus would therefore remain on cost control.
The shift towards larger ships already seen on east-west routes is also taking place in north-south trades and will, if anything, accelerate over the next few years, said Thomas.