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The Fine Wine Reefer Shortage

The Fine Wine Reefer Shortage

The Fine Wine Reefer Shortage

Posted Oct 4 2019 by Alex Christensen

Over the last few years, the landscape of the importation of European fine wine has changed considerable. What was once a relatively simple process of securing a 20' Refrigerated container (Reefer), has now become a frustrating battle with potentially weeks of waiting time.

The reason behind this complexity is in fact very simple. Shipping lines operate on schedules designed to balance the distribution of containers from origin to destination, and returning destination to origin. Ideally shipping lines want to make profits on both outgoing and returning shipments, otherwise the cost of transporting empty containers can severely decrease profits.

Generally speaking, across the world, most containers are being imported and exported in relatively similar quantity. However many wine regions in Europe (particularly France and Italy) do not conform with this relativity. Due to the high number of fine wine exports of this region, a very large quantity of Reefer containers are being utilized. The quantity of refrigerated imports into the region, however is considerably lower. Such that Shipping Lines have outwardly expressed their intention for increased prices and fewer services.

Unlike many other wine regions across the world, Europe seems to be the only one experiencing this issue. Other countries like Argentina, South Africa and the United States, export considerably lower volumes of refrigerated containers, instead opting for insulation or simply, standard general containers.

Reefer containers in Europe, while in general shortage, are not entirely unavailable. The overwhelming majority of Reefer exports out of Europe are for 20' Containers. These specific containers are experiencing the worst of the shortage. 40' Reefer Containers are however relatively available, and a great strategy getting your goods on time.

That said, with more space means higher costs, and thus to make this strategy work a higher quantity of goods is required to be cost effective. For some, this outcome may be non-consequential, but in the case of some Fine Wine importers, this option can be difficult on the account balances. The option of placing your goods in Bonded Warehousing will post-pone Duty payments until the goods are required, thus easing the burden of a lump sum payment.

The unfortunate reality, is in the coming future, this shortage will get worse. However, as it does, SCI Australia will continue to find alternative methods to allow our clients to have their needs met and exceeded.

If you have any questions on how we assist please do not hesitate to contact your local representative or call us on 1800 422 700.

Tags: Reefer Containers, Wine Importation, European Fine Wine

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