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MARSEILLE: CMA CGM has reported revenues of US$15.9 billion for 2013 – basically unchanged from the previous 12 months. However the consolidated net profit rose 22.8 percent to US$408 million in a year described by group executive officer Rodolphe Saadé as "difficult".

The company said volumes rose 7.5 percent to 11.4 million TEUs, above the average market growth of three percent for the year, while revenue per TEU fell 7.1 percent.

Saadé commented: "We successfully reduced our costs while increasing our volumes carried much faster than the market, enabling us to report one of the industry's best financial performances. In this way, year after year, we are reinforcing our position as the world's third largest container shipping company. With these solid fundamentals and the pioneering spirit that has always been our strength, we are committed in 2014 to maintaining our profitability and driving faster growth."

CMA CGM says the combination of a new e-commerce platform and the launch of two new 16,200-TEU megaships helped drive a 5.3 percent reduction in costs per TEU and a resulting operating margin of 4.8 percent.

The company is forecasting global container volumes to grow 4-5 percent in 2014 and despite an initial rate spike at the beginning of the year, continued volatility due to a "persistent mismatch between supply and demand."

In addition to cost-controls and what it describes as "assertive marketing", corporate plans for 2014 will focus on the launch of new services and 
the development of port infrastructure – particularly in Africa. CMA CGM says it is also benefiting from the growth in its energy-efficient reefer container fleet that should account for 48,000 units by the end of the year.

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