The CMA CGM Group has announced enhancements to its Asia-Europe network to cover the current increased demand, after a six-month period of a significant slowdown for container shipping demand due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The French carrier says it has boosted the capacity assigned to lines between Asia and Europe by 6% for the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year. Moreover, CMA CGM will take more action in the first quarter of 2021, expanding its capacity by 10% compared to the current quarter.
Among the measures to strengthen the capacity in the region, CMA CGM has assigned three new 23,000TEU LNG-powered vessels to the Asia-Europe trade, while six more will be deployed in the future, according to the company's announcement.
"The CMA CGM Group’s nine new 23,000TEU LNG containerships will replace existing vessels of lower capacity that will be redeployed on other trades, where extra capacity is also needed to meet customers’ demand," a CMA CGM representative told Container News.
Additionally, two extra loaders operating on routes between Asia and Europe, providing over 9,000TEU in total capacity, with special departures from China to France and the Netherlands will be provided in late December 2020.
Moreover, the Marseille-based company has reported no blank sailing departures on the French Asia Line (FAL) 1 and FAL 3 lines since the recovery began in Asia in mid-May.
Furthermore, the Port of Le Havre will be an additional import call on the FAL 1 service between Asia and Europe to provide greater capacity for the French market, according to CMA CGM.
The 20,954TEU CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry will call at Le Havre on Sunday, 13 December, adding another weekly import call in France to CMA CGM’s FAL 1, which connects Asia to Europe in an 84-day rotation.
This direct connection can ship a container from Shanghai to France in barely 27 days, said CMA CGM and went on to add, "In parallel, the FAL 3 service will make a weekly export call in Le Havre bound for ports in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and Asia. Under these new arrangements, the CMA CGM Group’s vessels will make four weekly calls in France — two at Le Havre, one at Dunkirk and one at Marseille/Fos-sur-Mer."
In addition, the French shipping group has taken several measures to speed up the return of empty containers to Asia and to cut delays at the ports it serves in Asia and Europe.
During the second half of 2020, CMA CGM has increased the size of its container fleet by 8.7%, services have been rerouted to clear the build-up of empty containers, and CMA CGM is offering its customers alternative solutions that use other types of containers to meet their needs.