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CMA CGM bullish on 2021 container outlook following strong 2020 close

CMA CGM vessel becomes makes French maritime history
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French container line CMA CGM Group expects the increase in demand to continue at a steady pace through the first half of 2021 following a strong finish to the line’s Q42020 cargo volumes.

CMA CGM saw an increase in container volumes by 4.3% in 2H2020, compared to 2019, according to the firm’s 2020 financial year results announced on 12 March.

The rebound in volumes made headway in offsetting the group’s 7% fall in container shipping in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, volumes transported saw a 2.7% decrease compared with 2019. However, the strong contrast in demand between the first half and second half of 2020 meant annual revenue grew by 4% compared to 2019 due to an increase of average revenue per TEU of 6.8% Year-on-Year (YoY).

The growth in traffic for 2H2020, driven by a shift in household spending to consumer goods, means CMA CGM booked a quarterly net profit of $1 billion, taking annual net earnings to $1.75 billion.

Maritime analyst, Lars Jensen, CEO of SeaIntelligence Consulting, commented that CMA CGM’s 2020 performance shows “essentially identical” output as competitors A.P. Moller (Maersk) and Hapag-Lloyd AG in their newly released annual accounts.

“CMA CGM saw volumes decline -2.7%, which was in between Hapag-Lloyd’s volume drop of -1.7% and Maersk’s decline of -5.0%,” Jensen said. According to Container Trade Statistics, global market volume declined -1.1% in 2020.

In responding to the surging demand during 2H2020, CMA CGM increase its Asia-Europe capacity by 18% and grew its fleet of containers by 8.7% compared to the first half of 2020.

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO, CMA CGM Group, said 2020 “will remain a year of contrasts” due to global lockdowns and booming consumption of goods.

“In 2021, the volumes shipped should remain strong, at least throughout the first part of the year. We are expanding our service offering by further developing our logistics business,” he said.

The group also made strong progress on its CO2 emissions reductions targets, reducing overall emissions by 4% compared to 2019.

This reduction is aligned with the group’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and increasing the share of alternative fuels consumed to 10% by 2023.

The group is growing its fleet of vessels with the delivery of 13 additional Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) container ships, keeping the group on track to own 32 LNG-powered container ships by the end of 2022.

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