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CMA CGM Air Cargo is planning to apply for a flight licence in Vietnam.
According to local media, the carrier’s VP for business development Patric Bergamini announced the plan at the Asean-EU Business Summit in Brussels last week.
Mr Bergamini said CMA CGM was “committed to continuing to support Vietnam’s economic development through the expansion of Gemalink, and with logistics solutions from Ceva Logistics and CMA CGM Air Cargo.”
Indeed, the French company has invested in Vietnam’s sea ports since 1994, and holds major stakes in Gemalink Container Terminal at Cai Mep deepwater port, in the south, as well as at Lach Huyen port, in the northern city of Hai Phong.
Gemalink phase two is already under way, as is CMA’s investment in a new dry port close to Ho Chi Minh City – but operating its air cargo arm there would be a major breakthrough into Vietnam’s air freight sector.
It has proved a tough market for newcomers to crack in recent years, however. For example, IPP Air Cargo has, so far, been unable to get off the ground, while even Vietjet, an established passenger airline, has struggled to launch freighter operations, despite long-held ambitions to do so.
CMA CGM Air Cargo is also apparently having trouble in the US market, with the downturn there, and Vietnam could prove equally tricky, given the current export slump triggered by falling demand in Europe and the US.
According to an update from local forwarder HLS Air Sea International Logistics, exports in the first half of November fell 16.7% against the second half of October, largely due to falling demand for computers and electrical products.
The forwarder said: “The Vietnam market is in a downturn as most of the purchase contracts for 2022 from the US and EU are over.
“Airfreight export volumes in December are higher, but due to huge capacity in the market, airlines are competing with each other by cutting rates.”