THE CMA CGM Group saw a 30% fall in EBITDA in the first quarter of 2024, described as a “robust performance” in a geopolitical environment that is impeding the fluidity of global trade. 

Group revenue stood at US$11.8 billion in the first quarter of 2024, driven mostly by the maritime shipping business. EBITDA totalled US$2.4 billion, 30.3% lower than in first-quarter 2023. EBITDA margin came in at 20.2%, down 6.8 points. 

In shipping, 5.6 million TEU were carried in the first quarter of 2024, up 11.7% from the prior-year period. The increase was due to stronger-than-expected world merchandise trade and demand for cargo shipping, driven by a rebound in consumption and inventory rebuilding following 2023 lows, CMA CGM said. 

Consolidated revenue from maritime shipping operations amounted to US$7.9 billion over the quarter, down 11.4% year on year. EBITDA totalled US$1.9 billion, 35.8% lower than in first-quarter 2023. EBITDA margin came in at 24.8%, down 9.4 points. Average revenue per TEU amounted to US$1,400, down 20.7% year-on-year.

In the first quarter, the Group’s logistics activities continued to grow, boosted in particular by the consolidation of Bolloré Logistics from 29 February and good momentum in Contract Logistics, Finished Vehicle Logistics and Ground, especially in Europe.

Revenue from logistics activities totalled US$3.9 billion in the first quarter of the year. EBITDA stood at US$361 million, a 6.9% increase on first-quarter 2023. 

Revenue from other activities (port terminals, CMA CGM Air Cargo, media etc.) increased by 45.4% to US$600 million. EBITDA rose by 43.6% to US$79 million, driven by the inclusion of Port Liberty in the scope of consolidation and the recovery in volumes for the terminals business. 

“As expected, the start of 2024 proved to be more dynamic for world merchandise trade and demand for cargo shipping, although it was shaped by persistent geopolitical tensions, particularly in the Red Sea region,” the Group said.  

“These tensions severely impeded the fluidity of global economic trade during the first quarter, causing a fall in effective available capacity in the shipping sector and a rebound in freight rates compared with the final quarter of 2023. The disruptions are also producing major operational challenges, to which the Group has responded with agility.

“However, the Group is keeping a close eye on shipping sector fundamentals, in particular the effects of continued new ship deliveries on the balance between supply and demand, which has an impact on freight rates. The Group also remains focused on cost control and operating discipline. 

“Uncertainties in the macro-economic and geopolitical environment could continue to cause fluctuations in the transport and logistics market, and weigh on its fluidity and seasonality,” CMA CGM said.