The CMA CGM JULES VERNE inauguration

Founded in 1978 in Marseilles by Jacques Saadé, the CMA CGM Group has celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013. The CMA CGM Group, France's shipping leader, is more than ever a 21st century company at the centre of global trade and a full participant in France's international business expansion.

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CMA CGM also participates in the economic, cultural, and social life of Marseilles and has made the city into one of the world's major shipping centres. So it is only natural that it was in Marseilles that the Group decided to celebrate the christening of its new flagship, the CMA CGM Jules Verne, the largest container ship in the world sailing under the French flag, for its 35th anniversary.

The CMA CGM Jules Verne's striking entrance into the port of Marseilles

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The port pilot boarded the CMA CGM Jules Verne near the Iles du Frioul. The colossal ship, whose stack of containers displayed the colours of the French flag, then slowly advanced towards the city, escorted by the CMA CGM Lyra and a French Navy vessel, as the ships that had come to meet it sprayed jets of water over the ship and sounded their horns.

On the seawall, which was made accessible for the occasion, no fewer than 250 amateur and professional photographers came to immortalise the ship's arrival.

The christening of the CMA CGM Jules Verne: an historic moment for the CMA CGM Group and the city of Marseilles

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Over 500 French and international celebrities, along with many CMA CGM clients, accepted Jacques Saadé's invitation to participate in this extraordinary event.

French President François Hollande christened the CMA CGM JULES VERNE himself. Let’s take a closer look at an event without precedent since 1962!

Jacques Saadé tells CMA CGM's story in his opening address:

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Jacques Saadé, President, CEO, and founder of the CMA CGM Group, gave his personal account of the CMA CGM Group's history and the reasons for its success in his opening remarks.

A surge of emotion could be felt from the very beginning of his speech. 35 years in business, 35 years of passion, 35 years of success. An accomplishment that Jacques Saadé wished to celebrate with his staff.

I would like to share with you the pride of a job well done.

CMA CGM managed to become No 1 in France and No 3 worldwide under challenging circumstances. Jacques Saadé attributes this success to CMA CGM's skilled teams and strategic decisions.

Our teams and management tools performed well and we were able to demonstrate our expertise, knowhow, and capable decision-making during difficult times.

Jacques Saadé also noted with pride the contributions of CMA CGM to France's economic development thanks to the vessel fleet it has come to rely on when trading with the rest of the world.

Mr President, to return to CMA CGM's industrial activity, our ships are the undeniable reasons for our success and a source of pride for France.

Jacques Saadé, who has for years now been committed to protecting the environment, made providing environmentally friendly ships a priority. The President and CEO took the opportunity to highlight this commitment to environmental protection.

This generation of ships consumes 20% less fuel per tonne transported versus the previous series. It is fitted out with mechanisms to prevent accidental pollution.

Since the very beginning of the company, Jacques Saadé has made people a priority. Jacques Saadé was able to preserve the "soul" of the company by consistently ensuring that people are part of its identity, while combining business ventures with the conscientiousness necessary to be successful.

These past 35 years prove that "family capitalism" -the underlying principle of the CMA CGM Group's business model— is a means of weathering economic and social crises. Its human-centred and long-term approach enabled a French company to rise to the upper echelons of the shipping industry.

The stability of our efficient management team, associated with a strong family share ownership that should be maintained, is the source of our Group's strength and long-term business vision.

Initiative, Audacity, Imagination, and Integrity : these four fundamental CMA CGM Group values, which are very important to Jacques Saadé, have always helped guide the CMA CGM Group on its way to becoming a leader.

We set ambitious goals and we create the means to achieve them.

We focus on innovation in order to stay one step ahead.

François Hollande christens the CMA CGM Jules Verne and congratulates Jacques Saadé

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French President François Hollande took the stage after Jacques Saadé to give a speech before christening the CMA CGM Jules Verne.

After a solemn opening, President Hollande thanked Jacques Saadé for painting the containers in the colours of the French Republic and complimented the impressive power and size of this crown jewel of French shipping.

François Hollande went on to recognise the accomplishments of Jacques Saadé, who has become one of the most important investors in France. He also spoke about CMA CGM's success as a family business that grew into a global carrier.

The president remarked that this was his first time christening a ship, and then said the traditional words: "I name this ship CMA CGM Jules Verne. I wish smooth sailing to her crew and all who sail on board." He then cut the blue, white, and red ribbon, releasing the bottle of champagne that broke against the hull of the ship.