French container shipping group CMA CGM said on Thursday it was stopping all increases in its spot freight rates until February in a gesture to customers after a surge in shipping costs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has strained global logistics due to sanitary restrictions and a sharp rebound in economic activity following a slump last year.
“Although these market-driven rate increases are expected to continue in the coming months, the group has decided to put any further increases in spot freight rates on hold for all services operated under its brands,” it said in a statement.
“This decision applies to spot rates and is effective immediately until February 1, 2022.”
CMA CGM, founded and controlled by the Saade family, is one of the world’s largest container lines.
Like its peers, the Marseille-based group has seen earnings climb on the back of high freight rates and saturated vessel capacity.
The group said it had increased the capacity of its operated fleet by 11% since the end of 2019.
Shipping congestion has been exacerbated in recent weeks by backlogs at some Chinese ports as the authorities in China have tried to curb renewed COVID-19 cases.