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Chris Bryant

Shipping's $500 Billion Profit Can Take on Amazon

Container lines are using pandemic windfalls to fashion themselves into logistics giants. But their empire building risks a backlash. 

Container shipping lines powering ahead.

Container shipping lines powering ahead.

Photographer: picture alliance/picture alliance

When French container-shipping giant CMA CGM Group announced a cargo partnership with Air France-KLM last week, the real surprise was its plan to acquire only 9% of the airline.

Having made 18 billion euros ($19 billion) of net profit last year, the world’s third-largest container line by capacity could afford to acquire all of Air France with plenty of change to spare. And because the world’s ports are still chockablock and freight rates remain sky-high, it will probably earn even more this year.