© Anastasia Sukhonosova

News that Flexport has done a deal with Canada’s WestJet Cargo to fill its leased aircraft out of the US to Asia, has again put the spotlight on the close relationships between carriers and forwarders that exclude others.

One North American source noted that the deal, which sees Canadian cargo brought into the US by WestJet and then flown to Asia by Flexport, had “alienated most large forwarders”.

But perhaps of more concern for other forwarders – and shipping lines –  is the relationship between CMA CGM and its subsidiary Ceva, according to a source within CMA CGM Group.

“Other forwarders should definitely be wary, their concerns are completely justified,” warned the source.

“Ceva is told to tell other shipping lines there is an internal policy of giving no more than 20% of volume to CMA on any particular trade. This is false,” claimed the source.

“Overall, CMA group has more than 50% of the Ceva volume, and on some trades it’s much higher. In the current market conditions, when carriers are needing volume, CMA demands Ceva support it above other carriers. We believe there are internal emails sent to ensure volumes are diverted to CMA from other carriers.”

The source also claimed the group may share other forwarders’ contract data with Ceva to help it secure accounts, with people at one time said to be employed to cross-sell within the group.

“These cross-sell roles have largely been removed around the world recently, but this is probably due simply to cost cutting,” claimed the source.

Another mid-size independent forwarder told The Loadstar: “Yes, this is well-known in the market. They [CMA CGM] are trying to make themselves look neutral, but everyone knows what they are doing.” He added that his company does not use CMA as a result.

The CMA source claimed that on occasion, the carrier had taken space allocations away from other forwarders and given them to Ceva to help push volumes, and that Ceva shared other carriers’ rates with CMA.

The source added: “On trades such as US, the stats are published, so carriers in many cases are well aware of the truth.”

Forwarders’ relations with CMA CGM may become further stretched after it integrates Bolloré, which looks set to be delayed until the first quarter of next year.

CMA CGM has been approached for comment.

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