Port of Los Angeles

CMA CGM is to launch a ‘cash for early container return’ scheme in an effort to aid the movement of goods through US supply chains, claiming it as a first.

The French carrier will accept returns at any of its facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and Memphisfrom 16 May until 15 July, with a $300 incentive for boxes returned within four days of being picked up.

Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM and APL North America, said: “CMA CGM is committed to doing all it can to increase the fluidity and velocity of America’s supply chain.”

According to the carrier, the incentive scheme is “projected to result in approximately 43,000 dry containers being put back into circulation within four days of pickup”.

Incentive credits will be calculated weekly and a credit memo issued every 14 days to each importer/consignee listed on the bill of lading. The company will use electronic data to assess credits with no further documentation necessary.

“This is the second incentive programme implemented by CMA CGM in the US, following the early container pick-up incentive initiated at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach at the end of 2021,” said the carrier.

Since the beginning of the global pandemic, supply chains across the world have been disrupted by empty containers being in short supply as cargo piled up in US and European ports. Supply chains in the US were particularly hard hit, with carriers and terminal operators imposing heavy charges on boxes at the terminal for long periods.

However, as the pandemic progressed, the chorus of complaints from shippers to the US Federal Maritime Commission over unfair carrier fees, particularly detention and demurrage charges, increased substantially.

One case has been launched by the Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference of the American Trucking Associations (IMCC), which claimscarriers from all three major alliances, including CMA CGM, along with the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association and Consolidated Chassis Management Inc, restricted choice for container moves.

The IMCC alleges the carriers linked carrier haulage to ocean contracts and that chassis choice was restricted by the carriers designating a particular merchant haulier and withdrew from chassis interoperability agreements, which again limited choice for the cargo owners.

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