CMA CGM is seeing signs of a gradual recovery in its container shipping business and expects to be close to reaching breakeven this year.
CMA CGM is seeing signs of a gradual recovery in its container shipping business and expects to be close to reaching breakeven this year, the head of the French company said in a newspaper interview. Jacques Saade told Le Figaro his company, which competes with Maersk of Denmark, Hanjin Shipping of South Korea and Mediterranean Shipping Co, was open to partnerships, including one with French railway operator SNCF.
"The low point is behind us," he was quoted as saying in Le Figaro in its Wednesday edition, adding that ships on the Europe-Asia route were currently 80 percent filled compared with 70 to 75 percent at the beginning of the year.
"The year 2009 should show a progressive pickup in exchanges, albeit at very modest proportions," he said.
Levels of container shipping activity are closely correlated to activity in the economy as a whole.
Saade forecast CMA CGM'S sales would reach about $16 billion this year but said "market conditions are such that I do not think we will be profitable at the operating level".
CMA CGM said a possible partnership with SNCF could include unloading its vessels in the French port of Le Havre and transporting their contents into Europe, or looking for joint development projects in Asia.