CMA CGM is increasingly using LNG as a bunker fuel. File Image / Pixabay
French container line CMA CGM reported a 63% yearly rise in its bunker bill in the second quarter as its carried volumes surged from the low levels seen last year during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company paid $1 billion for its bunkers in the second quarter, it said in a results statement last week, up from $633.5 million in the same period a year earlier. The firm's ships carried a total of 5.7 million TEU in the three-month period, up by 19.1% on the year.
Global average bunker prices surged by 88% in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to Ship & Bunker's G20 Index of prices at 20 leading bunker ports.
The global container industry is operating at near maximum capacity to deal with high demand and limited throughput at terminals that have significantly disrupted the freight market and sent spot rates to record highs.
Part of CMA CGM's managing to see bunker costs increase by less than the global average 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.
The company held $489 million's worth of bunker inventories by the end of the second quarter, up from $389.3 million at the end of 2020.