Norway’s Green Reefers, one of the world’s largest operators of dedicated refrigerator ships, has elected to discontinue operations after its bankers refused to provide fresh working capital following a $30.7 million loss in 2011. The majority of the Bergen-based company’s ships have not been able to cover their operating costs due to historically low freight rates and the absence of a high season during this year’s first quarter.

Green Reefers expects to receive only about $3.5 million from the sale of its 31 ships to Norway’s Caiona AS and its Caiona Ship AS unit. Green Reefers’ demise is the most dramatic demonstration to date of the deepening crisis in the dedicated reefer market with tumbling rates, poor harvests, soaring fuel prices and aggressive competition from container ships eating into profits.

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