Reefer box shortage challenges perishables industries in 2017

Published on
August 22, 2017

Consumption growth will continue for China heading into the latter months of 2017, after the country’s overall economy climbed by seven percent during the first half of the year, according to Andrew Tilton, the chief Asia-Pacific economist at investment bank Goldman Sachs. 

Such news bodes well for the perishables sector, particularly fresh produce, Tilton said. However, logistical challenges in effect during the start of 2017 – notably a severe shortage of reefer boxes – have challenged the industry as the year winds down. The effects of an underinvestment in reefer box capacity “has not gone away,” said the organizers the Cool Logistics Asia event, which will take place 6 to 8 September in Hong Kong.

While reefer boxes are best known to carry a variety of fresh produce, they are also used in the transport of protein perishables such as seafood and meat. Freight forwarders in Northern Europe, in various perishables markets, “have found it tough to lay their hands on empty reefer boxes,” explained Cool Logistics Asia organizers – for that reason, reefer box trends will be one major logistical focus for the upcoming conference.      

Other topics slated to be covered during the third installment of the annual logistics event include cross border e-commerce involving food, a discussion to be led by reefer box veteran Alfred Cheung, who currently uses e-commerce to ship food between the Hong Kong, Japan, and mainland China markets. 

Cool Logistics Asia takes place during the same week as Seafood Expo Asia, organized by Diversified Communications, to be held from 5 to 7 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

"Both events attract global logistics operators keen to tap into Asia’s leading market for perishable product logistics including seafood and fresh produce," explained Diversified in 2016, when the two events joined forces to "provide their logistics customers with more business development opportunities."

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