CMA CGM expects 2011 to be a positive year despite reporting a 72 percent year-over year decline in first-half profit to $237 million, as higher fuel costs offset shipping volume gains.
The world’s third-largest container shipping company said revenue over the same period rose 8 percent to $7.3 billion, as traffic rose 9.1 percent to 4.8 million 20-foot container equivalent units.
CMA CGM’s report falls in line with those of other container ship lines that have reported a steep retrenchment in earnings this year after strong profits a year ago. The French’s carrier’s upbeat forecast, however, contrasts with many of its competitors' downward projections for the rest of the year.
CMA CGM said its rates were stable on most of its trade lanes. Freight rates on the South American and Caribbean line grew 5 percent over last year, the trans-Atlantic was up 6 percent and the trans-Pacific lanes were up 11 percent.
By the Numbers: Shanghai Containerized Freight Index
“We drove faster growth in freight volumes than the competition, while demonstrating the effectiveness of our strategy by raising nearly a billion dollars from leading international institutional investors,” said chief executive Rodolphe Saade. “Although the current global economic situation calls for caution, we remain confident in our ability to further strengthen our positions thanks, in particular, to our modern, efficient fleet and the quality of our extremely professional teams, which enable us to take a calm view of both the medium and the long term.”
The company expanded its fleet capacity 17 percent to 1.3 million TEUs in the first half from the same period a year ago. CMA CGM said it will focus expansion efforts in Russia, India and Latin America, where it’s preparing to tap growth caused by the Panama Canal expansion.