The CMA CGM Group announced that it is increasing its capacity citing an “exceptionally strong demand,” particularly in the US.

The French container shipping company said over the past six months, demand for goods transportation has bounced back sharply from the contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020.

US capacity boosted

“CMA CGM has increased capacity in the US by 39% between the first and second half of 2020. It also announced 25 extra loaders operating on routes between Asia and the US providing over 114,500 TEUs in total capacity, from May to December 2020; 13 vessel-size increases; and a new direct service called the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) service with first call in Oakland on February 12,” it said in a statement.

First direct service from Oakland to Asia

Effective immediately, CMA CGM said its GGB service will also first call at the Port of Oakland on its route from Shanghai and Yantian, China. It will remove the Port of Los Angeles from the current route and enhance service by providing customers with an innovative and creative fast-transit alternative that enables them to avoid congestion.

“Oakland is an ideal, reliable alternative to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach for West Coast customers importing goods due to its easy access for existing California shippers, immediate berth availability and fast rail connections into Chicago, Memphis, Dallas and Kansas City,” it said.

It noted that the expanded service will also include Seattle, allowing for new capacity to Pacific Northwest customers.

CMA CGM said it has also taken several measures to speed up the return of empty containers to Asia and to cut delays at the ports it serves in the US, Asia and Europe.

In the US, it said it doubled the number of dedicated chassis in Southern California, broadened the base of truck providers to get containers in and out of the terminals more quickly, worked with rail partners to bring additional rail cars through Southern California and split calls between ports to increase velocity at berth.

Globally, 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, among others.

We believe calling Oakland first from Asia will help meet market demand while also providing some relief to the congestion at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. CMA CGM looks forward to partnering with the Ports of Oakland and Seattle to increase the flow of shipments,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America and APL North America.