FRENCH shipowner and operator Compagnie Maritime d'Affretement (CMA) is to expand its ownership of containers to over 15,500 20 ft equivalent units (TEUs), including 2,000 new boxes ordered from China. CMA, which had ordered the 2,000 new boxes from Chang Zhou Huachang International Containers Co in China, received the first batch of 250 units in November last year. The company will deliver batches of 250 units at monthly intervals up to June this year. ''The average age of our container equipment is now less than five years old, with our expanded fleet of more than 600 reefer containers being significantly younger than this,'' said a CMA spokesman. Modern units of this type of equipment were essential for the company's specialised, controlled-temperature traffic to and from the near and Middle East as well as the Indian sub-continent, he said. CMA, while bringing the proportion of owned equipment to nearly one-third of its total fleet, has reduced its overall fleet size by six per cent over the past six months to about 48,500 TEUs. The CMA spokesman explained that the recent introduction of new, refined equipment control procedures had led to much improved equipment utilisation on all trade routes served by the company, especially in the European and Far East market sectors. CMA also recently took delivery of a number of new, leased 20 ft and 40 ft containers as part of a move to upgrade the overall quality of its box fleet.