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Shipping Giant CMA CGM Sees Softening Of Global Freight Rates

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey welcomes the largest container ship to call at any U.S. East Coast port, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, on May 20, 2021. Credit: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Shipping Giant CMA CGM Sees Softening Of Global Freight Rates

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August 28, 2022

By Samy Adghirni and Tara Patel

(Bloomberg) –French container line giant CMA CGM SA is seeing an across-the-board drop in shipping rates and a loosening of logistics bottlenecks in some regions as demand softens.

“What we’ve been seeing now for many weeks is a decrease of freight rates in almost all sectors,” Chief Executive Officer Rodolphe Saade said Friday in Algiers. “We expect that decrease to continue. I don’t think we’ll see a strong drop but rather a soft landing.”

The observations are in line with those of the World Trade Organization, which said this week merchandise trade flows slowed last quarter and will likely stay weak in the second half. This could see the winding down of a frothy period for container carriers after two years of high rates and capacity shortages stemming from pent-up demand from consumers during the pandemic.

“At the peak of the Covid crisis, we had freight rates between China and Northern Europe of $14,000” per 40-foot container, Saade said in an interview. “Nowadays it’s around $9,000 and it is going down.”

Saade said some glitches remain in global supply chain networks, citing lingering strong congestion in places like the US and Europe.

“We are seeing a decrease of the demand so this has an impact on a little less congestion, even though some places remain difficult to manage,” he said.

The CEO of the closely held Marseille-based transporter is accompanying French President Emmanuel Macron on an official three-day visit to Algeria.

CMA CGM has operated in the country for two decades and is exploring further opportunities in ports and logistics, Saade said. 

The company came under pressure in recent months from some French lawmakers calling for windfall tax on record profits. The shipper and oil producer TotalEnergies SE responded by granting fuel and freight-rate rebates in France.

Read more: Total, CMA Grant Discounts in France Amid Windfall Tax Calls (1)

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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