French container line CMA CGM reported its operating profit more than halved in the third quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year, as a double-digit decline in average freight rates outweighed the impact of record cargo volume.
Earnings before interest and tax fell to $238 million in the third quarter, from $541 million in the third quarter of 2012, but totalled $271 million excluding non-recurring items.
The 6.6 percent operating profit margin was among the highest in the container shipping industry, CMA CGM said.
Net consolidated profit plunged to $70 million, against $363 million last time, on revenue down 2.1 percent year-over-year at $4.1 billion.
The world’s third largest carrier increased container volume by 1 percent to a record 3 million 20-foot-equivalent units, boosting traffic for the first nine months of the year by 7 percent to 8.5 million TEUs. Average revenue per TEU declined 11.8 percent from a year ago with Asia-to-North Europe rates collapsing more than 45 percent during the quarter.
The Marseille-based carrier said its performance in terms of volume and price resistance illustrated its resilience in a market that remains extremely volatile.
Adjusted earnings before interest and tax fell to $638 million in the first three quarters from $822 million in the 2012 period, but profit surged almost 53 percent to $434 million from $284 million. Revenue inched up 0.3 percent year-over-year in the first nine months to $12 billion from $11.9 billion.
Separately, CMA CGM has announced plans to launch the Rhino Express, a service connecting Mozambique and South Africa. The new feeder service will connect with CMA CGM Midas, SEAS 2, Shaka Express 2, ASAF and Mozex services in Durban, South Africa, and Maputo, Mozambique. It will also provide extended coverage to five ports in Mozambique, including two new ports: Quelimane and Pemba.
Effective Dec. 4, from Durban with the Onego Buran, voyage FZ001R, Rhino Express will be operated along the following port rotation: Durban; Maputo; Beira, Mozambique; Quelimane; Nacala, Mozambique; Pemba; Maputo; and Durban.