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Reefer container freight rates across global trades rose over 50% in the year to Q2, matching gains made in dry cargo pricing, and are estimated to increase further in Q3, outpacing dry box rates, according to a new report from British consultancy Drewry.

Drewry warns that some stabilisation is already underway on some reefer trades and this is expected to be followed by modest declines through 2023, as cargo owners push back on unsustainable freight rate increases.

Drewry’s Global Reefer Container Freight Rate Index, a weighted average of rates across the top 15 reefer intensive trade routes, rose 50.4% year-on year in Q2 and the Q3 reading is expected to climb further, though the pace of growth will slow. However, east-west routes have seen only modest freight rate increases over the last four quarters, as capacity pressure has eased thanks to the softening pork trade from both Europe and North America to Asia.

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