Tank and Reefer

Datamar presents ECSA`s reefer container shortage at Cool Logistics

Oct, 15, 2020 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202043

On October 15th, Datamar CEO Andrew Lorimer took part in the 12th Cool Logistics Global conference, where he highlighted the lack of reefer containers on the East Coast of South America, due to the imbalance between imports and exports.

In the first eight months of this year, almost seven times more reefer containers were exported through the ECSA region than imported. But this situation did not occur only in 2020. In recent years, the proportion of exports vs. imports has been approximately 6 to 1, which has created challenges in supplying reefers and, consequently, the adoption of solutions such as a non-operating reefer (NOR), the import of empty containers, and others.

See the chart below for imports and exports of reefer containers on the East Coast of South America from January to August since 2010:

Imbalance in the Reefer Container Market | Jan to Aug 2010-2020 | TEU

Source: DataLiner

DataLiner data show that Brazil accounted for 75% of ECSA reefer container exports between 2017 and 2019, followed by Argentina (17%), Paraguay (6%), and Uruguay (2%). Despite this, Brazil has the lowest percentage of exports (23%) via reefer container compared to other types of container exports, followed by Paraguay and Argentina, both with 30%, and Uruguay, with 38%. Regarding reefer container imports, Brazil also holds first place with 86% of the region[s reefer containers imported by the country. Argentina represents 7% of the total, Uruguay 6%, and Paraguay 1%.

Steady growth

In the average of the last ten years, reefer container exports have registered a steady growth of 1.9% year-on-year, currently representing 25% of the total volume exported. However, Chinese demand for animal protein has meant that in the last three years, exports in this category registered above-average growth, thus growing the proportion of reefer exports.

Exports from the ECSA Region by Type of Container | Jan to Aug 2010-2020 | TEU

Source: DataLiner

China is now the main destination for exports via the reefer container in the ECSA region, representing 31% of the total. China`s share of reefer exports has been growing steadily every year, going from 10% in 2010, to 28% in 2019.

Imports of reefer containers on the East Coast of South America have remained relatively stable since 2016. Despite this, in the accumulated period from January to August 2020, they fell by 4%. The yearly trend is shown in the chart below:

ECSA Region imports by container type | Jan to Aug 2010-2020 | TEU

Source: DataLiner


Main products exported via reefer container

Meat is the main product exported via reefer containers according to DataLiner, representing 68% of total exports, followed by fruits with 14%, fish with 6%, and juices with 4%. The other products correspond to 9% of the total.

The conclusion of Datamar`s talk at the Cool Logistics Global conference was that the fall in imports and increase in exports has aggravated the problem of the reefer container imbalance. This implies an increase in the import of NORs and empty reefer containers. See the graph below:

Container Imbalance | 2010 to 2020 per month | TEU

Source: DataLiner (To request a DataLiner demo click here)

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *