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Shipping line CMA CGM’s boss says he expects a 30% business drop in May

PortandTerminal.com, April 8, 2020

MARSEILLE, FRANCE – Rodolphe Saadé, the CEO of CMA CGM, the world’s fourth-largest container shipping company, is anticipating May will be the slowest month for box movements across the globe thanks to the coronavirus.

Saadé, who was interviewed by the French newspaper Le Figaro on April 5th, said he was confident that utilisation rates on his ships would remain strong through to the end of April.

“The situation is going to be tense in May. We are estimating a 30% drop in global shipping,”

Rodolphe Saadé, CEO, CMA CGM
Rodolphe Saadé, CEO, CMA CGM

“The situation is going to be tense in May. We are estimating a 30% drop in global shipping,” Saadé conceded, predicting that between 10 to 15 of his approximate 500-ship fleet would be put on the sidelines to wait things out.

“The problem is no longer in China, where the factories are running at 100%; it comes from European and American customers,” Saadé said, suggesting that box volumes would not start to show much growth around the world through to the third quarter this year.

Asked about his vision of how world trade might change once the coronavirus recedes, Saadé called for “more balanced world trade”. He denounced “excessive globalisation” which he said would need to be modified.

“The crisis will be a catalyst for intra-regional developments,” the CMA CGM boss said with production of strategic goods such as health products relocating from Asia.

READ: Coronavirus Shows U.S. Offshored Too Much – White House trade adviser

However, the CEO of CMA CGM said he was convinced that China will remain more competitive on certain consumer goods, taking televisions as an example.

CMA CGM owned logistics company Ceva has mobilized its teams in Europe and China to schedule the transport of 16 million masks from Shanghai to Paris in Air France cargo planes, then to their final destination in France. Currently, there are two flights a week with a third one in the works.

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