CMA CGM celebrates 40th anniversary


French shipping line CMA CGM this week celebrated its 4Oth anniversary by looking back on a timeline dotted with the milestones of a company that today employs 34 000 people across 160 countries.

Company founder Jacques Saadé on 13 September 1978 launched the first maritime line between Marseilles and Beirut, with only one ship and four employees.

In a true case of necessity being the mother of invention, Saadé was forced into entrepreneurial endeavour after having to flee the war in his native Lebanon.

“He anticipated the evolutions of international trade and was convinced of the crucial role containerisation was about to play,” according to a company statement.

What followed was the company’s first maritime line called the Compaigne Maritime d´Affrѐtement (CMA).

In a short space of time and through substantial increments the company accumulated significant oars in the water, first with the Ville de Sahara that became the first CMA vessel to cross the Suez Canal in 1983, followed by a line linking Northern Europe with the Far East in 1986.

Several additional nodes were added to the company’s timeline: the acquisition of CGM in 1996, ANL two years later, Delmas in 2005, and in recent times – APL, Sofrana, and Mercosul, all in the space of two years.

Among its strategic priorities, the line has identified the development of the Group’s maritime, logistics and inland sectors where the acquisition of a 25% stake in CEVA has created a “complete range of services”.

Innovation and digitalisation is also high on the agenda with ZeBox, the start-up incubator and accelerator initiated by CMA CGM, set to open its doors soon in Marseilles.

The line has also worked towards a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by transported containers per kilometre between 2005 and 2015, with a further 30% reduction earmarked for 2025.


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