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MARSEILLE: In the week CMA CGM took delivery of its largest containership, the 17,700+ TEU Kerguelen, the company reported a 43.2 percent rise in net profit for 2014 to US$584 million on revenue of US$16.7 billion.

EBIT before disposals and impairments was US$973 million – up 28.8 percent over the previous year as TEU volumes rose 8.1 percent to 12.2 million.

The company said volumes were led by sustained growth in the Asia-North Europe and Asia-North Africa trades; the reorganization of CMA CGM and Delmas' Africa lines, combined with the opening of new inland corridors and dry ports; a "more vigorous U.S. economy"; the expansion of its Asia-Pacific subsidiary ANL; and the launch of an e-business platform that handled "an impressive" 1.3 million TEUs in its first full year of operation.

kerguelen-2CMA CGM vice chairman Rodolphe Saadé commented: "By combining operational excellence, disciplined financial management and innovation, we have delivered strong growth in results with one of the industry's highest margins and an even healthier balance sheet.

"We have entered 2015 with a fresh commitment to growth and are going to drive faster momentum by continuing to demonstrate our agility, with the launch of the Ocean Three strategic alliance, new solutions and new ports of call, and the strengthening of our positions in shipping-related businesses, such as logistical services, inland transport and port terminals," he added.

The company said it expects the global container shipping market to expand by around five percent in volume this year, led by sustained growth in the U.S. economy and the improving outlook in Europe, "albeit with a certain amount of geopolitical uncertainty". It noted the recent decline in bunker prices may have a positive impact on operating results this year.

CMA CGM will take delivery of six 18,000-TEU vessels and twelve 9,400-TEU containerships in 2015. In addition to receiving three 2,500-TEU ice-class vessels next year, the company is expected to order three more 20,600 TEU vessels for delivery in 2017. During 2014, the company increased its reefer inventory by 7,000 to over 105,000 units due to what it says is a level of demand that is exceeding the rest of the market.

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