- Maersk Line announced it had ordered 14,800 new refrigerated containers in 2016, bringing the average age of its reefers to 7.9 years, over four years younger than the industry average.
- The shipping line's new containers will replace old containers in part, and coupled with last year's order of 30,000, bring the company's reefer capacity to 270,000.
- The containers also include IoT technology to enhance in-transit visibility, which the company hopes to expand to the entire fleet by 2017 alongside a customer-facing platform, according to the press release.
Just last week, Hapag-Lloyd announced it had acquired 5,750 refrigerated containers with "state-of-the-art" technology to meet rising cold chain demands. While Maersk Line exceeds Hapag-Lloyd in total capacity, competition for this market is far from consolidated.
Yet, despite the favorable growth rates, the companies' investment in visibility-enabled and controlled atmosphere containers shows the shipping lines are catering to clients' technology demands. Under this consideration, Maersk Line remains the furthest ahead, but Hapag-Lloyd and others are sure to fight for a share of the growing market.
A recent survey of 3PL-shipper relationships shows shippers prefer carriers with various shipping options, rather than specialized ones. The cold chain arms race, then, is not about total capacity but well-rounded service offerings. Consistent tracking of temperatures and specific container visibility are key for ensuring rapid and precise processing. Container mixups, after all, are not uncommon and it helps to know each container has an individual ID code with registered specifications.