Shipping group CMA CGM benefited in the first quarter from a rebound in spot freight rates mainly due to disruptions in the Red Sea region.

Furthermore, the group’s logistics business is now large enough, after a recent major acquisition, to ‘better withstand cyclical changes,’ says chief executive in the financial statements.

France-based CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest container line, reported first-quarter net income of $785m, which is sharply down from $2,011bln in the same period the year before.

Following deteriorated market conditions experienced in the fourth quarter of 2023, the first quarter of 2024 was shaped by a rebound in spot freight rates, mainly due to disruptions in the Red Sea region.

The resulting longer journey times via the Cape of Good Hope have weighed on available shipping capacity amid a rebound in demand. 

Revenue stood at $11.8bln in the first quarter of 2024, driven mostly by the group’s maritime shipping business. Ebitda totaled $2.4bln, 30.3% lower than in first-quarter 2023. Ebitda margin came in at 20.2%, down 6.8 points.

CMA CGM’s logistics division continued to grow and boosted in particular by the consolidation of Bolloré Logistics in late February. The division posted quarterly revenue $3.9bln, whilst Ebitda stood at $361m, a 6.9% increase on first-quarter 2023.

Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and chief executive of the CMA CGM Group, said: “Against a backdrop of industry normalization, our Group has demonstrated its agility and resilience in adapting to new market conditions.

“Our shipping division turned in a solid performance, buoyed by restocking in China and the United States.

“As for our logistics business, the acquisition of Bolloré Logistics gives us the critical mass we need to better withstand cyclical changes.

“In 2024, a year that remains uncertain due to the crisis in the Red Sea, CMA CGM will continue to meet its customers’ needs as effectively as possible. We will stay on course with our strategic investments, whether in decarbonization or artificial intelligence.”