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PARIS: French shipping and logistics group CMA CGM on Friday unveiled record third quarter profits of $5.6 billion on rising freight prices. The group had in August already turned in a huge rise for second quarter net profits to $3.5 billion as liner shipping conditions float upwards despite the challenges posed by the pandemic over the past two years.

The Marseille-based group on Friday posted an 89.4 percent rise in sales year-on-year to $15.3 billion, a rise “largely down to the group’s maritime activities”. It added that it sees the upward trend continuing “at least through to the first half of 2022,” a turnaround from a $229 million loss booked in 2019 before 2020 saw net profits of $1.755 billion.

Despite the profit hike, the third quarter saw the group’s fleet transport 5.5 million containers, a 2.5 percent fall the firm blamed on congestion at ports, as well as supply chain issues emanating from the slowdown largely induced by the pandemic. The volume fall was more than made up for by the rise in maritime freight rates. CMA CGM said the strong result had allowed it to pare down net debt to $11.9 billion as of September 30 — a $4.5 billion fall in nine months.

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