The cut in fuel bills despite rising freight volumes reflects more efficient use of the company's ships. File Image / Pixabay
French container line CMA CGM reported a 7.9% yearly drop in its bunker bill in the first quarter despite a jump in its carried volumes in a hectic market.
The company paid $898.2 million for its bunkers in the first quarter, it said in a results statement on Friday, down from $975.3 million in the same period a year earlier. The firm's ships carried a total of 5.46 million TEU in the three-month period, up by 10.7% on the year.
Global average bunker prices slipped by 4.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Ship & Bunker's G20 Index of prices at 20 leading bunker ports.
The cut in fuel bills despite rising freight volumes reflects more efficient use of the company's ships, with few slots going spare in the current unprecedented levels of activity in the container market. Liners have been making bumper profits for much of the last year as the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global supply chain disruptions brought increased demand for container freight.
Part of CMA CGM's lower bunker bill will reflect its increasing use of LNG as a bunker fuel, which is cheaper than VLSFO, but its bunker bill does not reflect the higher capital expenditure needed to build the ships capable of running on natural gas.
"At a time when global supply chains are under severe pressure, we have rallied together to provide our customers with additional solutions," Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of CMA CGM, said in the statement.
"Sustained demand for the transportation of consumer goods is expected to continue throughout the year."
The company held $479.8 million's worth of bunker inventories by the end of the first quarter, up from $389.3 million a year earlier.