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CMA CGM chief Saade:

“Adaptability is key, but we will not work for free“

Container shipping has faced exceptional challenges in the last year. The Covid-19 pandemic initially caused a huge drop in demand, following by an unprecedented surge in demand, exacerbated by the shortage of equipment. CMA CGM chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saade, speaking at TPM21, said adaptability had been key to surviving this.

“We have shown in the last few months we are able to adapt to a very difficult situation,” he said in a conversation with Peter Tirshwell, vice president maritime and trade for IHS Markit. He added: “We will adapt to the needs of customers, but we will not work for free.”

While blank sailings were successfully used to managed capacity during the sharp drop in demand in Q2 and Q3 2020 these were not a long term solution to manage the business as Saade said lines needed to offer customers a regular service, rather than a service this week, but not the next.

“What is important is we need to adapt, not only shipping lines need to adapt but also customers, some may say we need to look at our production lines differently. We have shown adaptability by taking actions and been able to weather the storms,” Saade stated.


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