- CMA CGM launched an early container return incentive program Monday that aims to speed up cargo velocity by encouraging shippers to quickly bring back empty shipping containers to ports, the carrier said in a press release.
- The ocean carrier is offering $300 for each container returned either to the Fenix Marine Services terminal in Los Angeles or to return locations in Chicago; Dallas; Kansas City, Kan.; and Memphis, Tenn. The program runs through July 15.
- Containers returned during calendar days one to four will be eligible for the $300 credit. The initiative is projected to result in approximately 43,000 dry containers put back in circulation within four days of pickup on or after May 16, the carrier said.
The new program isn't the first time CMA CGM has tried to expedite the flow of cargo at U.S. ports. The carrier began a 90-day program in December 2021, which included an early container pickup incentive of $100 for daytime moves and $200 for night and weekend moves at all container terminals. The program saw a 73% decrease in dwell of CMA CGM containers over nine days in Southern California, the carrier said in a statement.
Agricultural producers have struggled to get exports abroad as surging demand for imports and rising port congestion push shippers to send containers empty. The Northwest Seaport Alliance, for example, saw around a 30% decline in exports of agricultural commodities during the last half of 2021, and "the ratio of loaded versus empty container exports has shifted to predominately empty containers since May 2021," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Facilities including the Port of Oakland have opened pop-up container yards to help facilitate exports. California has leased sites throughout the state to a private company in a bid to provide additional space for the state’s overwhelmed ports and warehouses.
CMA CGM said its program is meant to ensure that exporters have greater access to equipment. The carrier is also working with industry associations including the International Dairy Foods Association to develop further solutions to ensure reliability for agricultural exporters.
“CMA CGM is committed to doing everything we can to increase the fluidity and velocity of America’s supply chain," Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM and APL in North America, said in a statement. "Our new program will result in an incentive credit for our importers, improve equipment availability for our exporters and expedite the flow of goods into and out of America’s heartland. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.”