French shipping giant CMA CGM, the world’s number three ocean carrier, reported Q1 2021 net profit of $2.1 billion driven by strong demand for consumer goods which is expected to continue through the rest of the year. This figure compares to a profit of just $48 million in the Q1 2020 for about a 2000% increase.

First-quarter revenue came in at $10.7 billion, up almost 50% from the first quarter 2020 amid a slowdown in international trade due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, particularly in China.

EBITDA came in at $3.2 billion, representing an EBITDA margin of 29.7% versus 13.5% in the first quarter of 2020. Volumes on the quarter were up 10.7% from first quarter 2020 to 5.5 million TEUs.

CMA CGM continued to make investments to strengthen and upgrade assets with 22 vessels ordered, including 12 powered by liquefied natural gas. The company also confirmed the deployment of six new LNG-powered 15,000-TEU vessels between China and the U.S. West Coast by the end of 2022, the first of which will join the fleet in October 2021.

By the end of 2024, CMA CGM will operate a fleet of 44 LNG-powered vessels, the largest in the shipping industry.

Commenting on the results, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, said: “At a time when global supply chains are under severe pressure, we have rallied together to provide our customers with additional solutions. We have expanded our fleet, most notably with the addition of new LNG-powered 23,000 TEU vessels. We have also created a new airfreight division with four Airbus A330-200 full-freighters, thereby strengthening our range of agile solutions.”

In this context, the complementarity between our maritime transport offer and the logistics solutions offered by our subsidiary CEVA Logistics has proven particularly relevant.
Sustained demand for the transportation of consumer goods is expected to continue throughout the year. CMA CGM will continue to develop its solutions for its customers, while maintaining its initiatives in support of the energy transition of the transport and logistics industry.”

Looking ahead, CMA CGM see international trade remaining “brisk” through the second half.
The sustained demand for the shipping of consumer goods seen since the summer of 2020 is expected to continue in the second half of 2021. The Group will continue to invest in strengthening and upgrading its shipping and logistics assets while bolstering its financial structure. As part of its commitment to customers around the world, the Group will continue to deploy solutions to support their business activity and ensure the continuity of their supply chains.

“The current environment should allow the Group to achieve at least the same results in the second quarter of 2021, as it did in the first,” CMA CGM said.

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Mr Mike Schuler

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