CMA CGM, the world’s third largest ocean carrier, saw a marginal profit increase of US$97 million during the first quarter of 2014, up 1.2 percent on the corresponding period last year.
The Marseille-based shipper’s revenues grew 2.7 percent to $3.94 billion, while the company succeeded in limiting its drop in average freight rates to just 2.9 percent. According to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), the average fall in freight rates industry wide was 8.6 percent.
Meanwhile, volumes handled by CMA CGM jumped 5.8 percent during the three-month period to 2.8 million TEU.
The French firm attributed its rise in volumes to its successful commercial strategy, including improved coverage in Africa, the reorganisation of services between Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent, and the upgrade of routes between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
During the first quarter, CMA CGM also continued with the implementation of its financial strategy with net debt reduced by a further 4.6 percent, representing less than 75 percent of the group’s equity.
Going forward the company said: “Thanks to the efficiency of its agency network and the quality of its service, CMA CGM continues to record a sustained increase of its volumes. After a dip at the beginning of the second quarter 2014, freight rates are now back at supportive levels but should nevertheless remain volatile.”
CMA CGM has also announced that Rodolphe Saadé has been appointed vice-chairman executive officer, thereby making him second-in-command of the Group, in line with Jacques R. Saadé’s desire for Rodolphe to succeed him when the time comes.