¤, About Us
Founded in 1978 in Marseille by Jacques Saadé, the CMA CGM Group demonstrates that family businesses are efficient socially and economically.
1978 - 1996 > The beginning of a business success story
Founding of the Compagnie Maritime d'Affrètement (CMA) by Jacques Saadé
In 1978, CMA had one shipping line between Beirut, Lattakia, Marseille, and Livorno.
A single ship.
Four employees working alongside Jacques Saadé.
CMA's adventure begins.
CMA's French Colours CMA's first ship, the Ville-d'Orient, is bought in full ownership. It is joined by another ship, the Ville-du-Levant, responsible for providing a direct service from Beirut to New York. Two years later, CMA sets its sights on the North, gradually opening maritime agencies in England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
In Marseille, the pioneers of 1978 have increased from 5 to 65. The war in Lebanon prevents CMA's fleet from doing its usual ship calls in Beirut. In order to fulfil its commitments to its customers, the ships transfer their goods in Cyprus onto small vessels that then unload in secondary Lebanese ports. The concept of relay in a transhipment port is born.
Forerunner of multimodal services in the maritime industry
To complement maritime transport, CMA decides to deliver goods directly to the final destination, thereby creating its Multimodal service. This opens up the possibility to be active in the Near- and Middle-East.
Passing through the Suez Canal
CMA continues to expand its lines and passes through the Suez Canal for the first time.
Setting course for Asia
CMA decides to expand its North-Europe—Red Sea line into Asia. This is a historic first that will give the company a major leg-up in the maritime industry.
A known and recognised player
CMA makes a trade cooperation agreement with other major companies within the Red Sea Express. CMA becomes a known and recognised player in the maritime industry.
Opening up to China
CMA opens its first office in Shanghai. In its first ship call in China, the company consolidates a project started in 1986 to expand into Asia. It marks the beginning of the great Chinese adventure. Today, the CMA CGM Group has 64 offices and agencies and nearly 2,000 employees.
The historic FAL service
Eight ships of 3,400 TEUs now make regular return trips between Europe and East Asia. This service is named the FAL (French Asia Line) and becomes the signature CMA line, the largest in terms of business, volume, and number of ships.
20th largest shipping company worldwide
CMA is now internationally recognised. This recognition allows the opening of the MEX (Med Club Express) line, the first shipping line dedicated to the Asian-Mediterranean market, partnering with two major companies: NYK (Japan) and YML (Taiwan). With 29 ships and 350,000 containers shipped, CMA becomes the 20th largest shipping company in the world.
Spirit of imagination
Seventeen years earlier, Jacques Saadé founded CMA based on the principles of initiative, audacity, and loyalty. A new value, that of "Imagination" is newly added to CMA's corporate culture. It becomes the Group's motto.
Number 1 in France
CMA becomes the number 1 French container shipping company.
1996 – 2000 > Development of a global Group
Birth of a new giant
In 1996 Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM), which at one time carried passengers on liners such as the 'Normandy' or the 'France', maintains only its cargo business when the French government decides to privatise it. CMA's industrial plan is selected. Jacques Saadé gets CGM back on an even keel in under a year. CMA and CGM merge in 1999. The newly-formed conglomerate becomes No 12 worldwide.
ANL opens the door to the Pacific
The Group continues its progress throughout the world thanks to the launch of new lines but also through external growth: in December 1998, it acquires the Australian National Line (ANL) thus opening up new opportunities in Oceania. The Group now possesses 80 ships (20 of which are wholly owned) and employs 2,500 people.
The CMA CGM Group (with more than 3,000 employees worldwide) now has 65 shipping lines served by its 81 ships. In addition to its "Around the World" or "End to End" lines, it launches its first return trip North Europe—Asia—Western Coast of North American route. Asia and the American continent are now connected.
2000 - 2011 > Joining the leaders
Shipping company of the year
CMA CGM, having just entered the Top 10 worldwide, is chosen as "Company of the Year" by Containerisation International. In 2007 Jacques Saadé is named "Personality of the Year" by the international magazine Seatrade.
To increase its activity in North America, the CMA CGM Group decides to directly connect Asia to the eastern coast of the United States by passing through the Panama Canal. In just a few years CMA CGM becomes one of the main clients of the canal, a strategic crossing point in the flow of ship traffic around the globe.
Acquisition of MacAndrews (U.K.)
CMA CGM acquires MacAndrews to develop European coastal navigation. The same year it constructs a new office in Marseille.
CMA CGM becomes No 5 in the world with 153 ships and 304,000 TEUs. The Group orders 21 ships with a capacity between 5,700 and 8,200 TEUs.
Environment: CMA CGM makes commitments
The CMA CGM Group makes environmental protection one of its corporate priorities. Preserving the marine environment, fighting climate change, developing ecological solutions, saving energy: from 2003 onwards, no decision can be made without a study of its impact on the environment.
Port terminals: a new strategic direction for CMA CGM
In 1997, CMA CGM has been transferring its transhipment operations in the Mediterranean from Damietta (Egypt) to Malta; the CMA CGM Group has decided to invest in the island having understood the importance of controlling port operations in its principal hubs. In October 2004, the Maltese government grants CMA CGM a 30-year concession to manage the island's container terminals. Four years later, the concession is extended to 65 years.
Rail complements sea transport
The CMA CGM Group innovates once again by offering the first complete trains with 60 wagons capable of transporting 120 containers from Le Havre to Marseille with immediate loading and departure for Algeria. Saving one week of transit time, this concept – which is altogether new and unique in the market – is an instant success and is applied to other destinations. It represents the first stage of the Group's global development strategy in rail transport.
DELMAS, African specialist
Hoping to accelerate its growth in West Africa, the CMA CGM Group acquires DELMAS, a long-time specialist in trade on the African continent.
The CMA CGM Group's strong values lead it to create the CMA CGM Corporate Foundation. Since its creation, Naïla Saadé chaired the Foundation, which has a threefold objective:
- to encourage the personal development of children with disabilities
- to improve the everyday lives of children who are ill
- to promote equal opportunities for underprivileged youngster
CMA CGM FIDELIO
On 4 July, 2006, the CMA CGM FIDELIO, the CMA CGM fleet's flagship which sails under the French flag, is christened in Marseille. With its length of 349 meters, a surface area equal to three football fields, and its 9,415 TEUs capacity, the ship is one of the largest container ships in the world. The ship can be at sea for two months and travel 55,000 km without refuelling. Its purpose is to bring China and Europe closer together.
CMA CGM third largest shipping company worldwide
The CMA CGM Group becomes the 3rd largest shipping company in the world in the area of container transport.
Since 1995 "Spirit of imagination" has been one of the Group's guiding principles. Other mottos follow: "Team Spirit" during the CMA/CGM merger, then "Shipping an Art". In 2007, CMA CGM decides to reflect its rise through a new motto, "Advanced Shipping", that expresses its values of daring and energy, its technological advances, and its status as industry leader.
Acquisition of Comanav, CNC, and US Lines
The CMA CGM Group pursues its international growth by relying on a strategy that allies the creation of new lines with external growth and the diversification of modes of transport and port facilities: in 2007, the Group becomes even stronger by buying several major companies, CNC (Taïwan), Comanav (Maroc) and US Lines (États-Unis), all of whom have enormous regional experience.
Buyout of ARB
The Group buys the British insurance company ARB, a broker at Lloyd's of London.
Delivery of the first 11,000 TEUs
The first ships with 11,000 TEUs ordered by the Group are delivered: CMA CGM VELA and CMA CGM THALASSA.
A strong leader with a focus on the future
Europe, Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, India, and the Americas: representing 200 shipping routes and 400 ports served. More than 16,000 people and close to 400 ships. Still in the top three worldwide, the CMA CGM Group now has one of the largest order volumes in the industry with 77 ships pending. Among these are several giant container ships with more than 13,000 TEUs, the largest in the world, which will enable the CMA CGM Group to continue its expansion with its most important strength is its effective, expert, and motivated workforce.
The CMA CGM CHRISTOPHE COLOMB
The CMA CGM ANDROMEDA —the first 11,400 TEUs ship equipped with the latest environmentally-friendly technology— is delivered, along with the CMA CGM CHRISTOPHE COLOMB (13,830 TEUs), the fleet's new flagship.
Ocean Carrier of the Year
CMA CGM is named "Ocean Carrier of the Year" by the world's leading large-scale retailer.
The CMA CGM Tower
The new CMA CGM Tower is built on daring lines: 147 meters high and 33 floors. CMA CGM, loyal to the city where everything began for the company in 1978, decides to set up its new head office in Marseille. The tower is designed by one of the world's most renowned architects, Zaha Hadid. The tallest structure in Marseille, the CMA CGM Tower is now a beacon and symbol of the company's energy and economic ambition.
2012 and beyond > A new era of growth takes shape
The CMA CGM MARCO POLO
The CMA CGM Group receives delivery of the largest ship in its fleet, and the largest container ship in the world (in terms of capacity), the CMA CGM MARCO POLO, capable of transporting up to 16,000 TEUs and measuring 396 meters long. It is deployed on the Group's FAL 1 (French Asia Line) route that connects Asia to Northern Europe. In addition to its enormous dimensions; the CMA CGM MARCO POLO is equipped with the latest environmentally-friendly technological innovations.
Containers of hope
Mrs Naïla Saadé, President of the Corporate Foundation, inaugurates the "Containers of Hope" operation. This involves the transportation of 100 containers to benefit two renowned NGOs—Doctors Without Borders and Action Against Hunger—for their programmes in Africa. The material transported allows them to fight the sanitary and food crises that are impacting the continent.
CMA CGM brings all of its multimodal solutions together under one banner: Greenmodal Transport. The operator now offers a simplified and neutral solution that covers three modes of transport (road, rail, waterway). By making the modal shift, CMA CGM reduces costs but more importantly its carbon footprint, making Greenmodal Transport an entity that respects the environment.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mr Jacques Saadé receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the magazine Containerisation International.
A year of awards
CMA CGM receives the "Best Partner of the Year 2012" award from Samsung Electronics, and ASDA, a Walmart entity, awards it the "International Carrier of the Year" prize for the second year running.
Schenker, an international logistics service provider, recognises the Group for the quality of its services and its policy of sustainable development by giving it the "Second Carrier of the Year 2012" trophy.
Its agencies also received awards directly, such as CMA CGM India Pvt. Ltd, which received the title of "Container Shipping Line of the Year" during the South India Cargo & Logistics Awards 2012 ceremony, in recognition of its performance achieved in European trade with its NEMO service, or like CMA CGM Pakistan, which won the "Most Cost Efficient Shipping Line" Prize awarded by the Pakistan International Freight Forwarders Association in June, 2012.
In terms of trade publications, Containerisation International also named CMA CGM No 1 for its overall performance in Asia.
Agreement for FSI to acquire a stake in the CMA CGM Group's capital
The CMA CGM Group, having obtained positive financial results in 2012, posts one of the sector's best performances. The Fonds stratégique d’Investissement (FSI) (the French public investment fund) acquires a stake in the CMA CGM Group's capital.
The CMA CGM ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT
The second in a series of three 16,000 TEUs ships, the largest container ships in the world (which bear the names of great explorers) the CMA CGM ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT begins operations on 19 April, 2013. It sails under the English flag. Like the CMA CGM JULES VERNE and the CMA CGM MARCO POLO, it is deployed on the FAL, the Group's largest shipping route. It is inaugurated on 30 May, 2013, in Hamburg, with Jacques Saadé—the CMA CGM Group's founder, President, and CEO—in attendance.
The CMA CGM JULES VERNE: the largest container ship in the world sailing under the French flag
Third in the series of three gigantic, 396 meter-long ships with 16,000 TEUs, the CMA CGM JULES VERNE is delivered on 30 April, 2013. At the time it is the largest container ship in the world sailing under the French flag. At the occasion of the 35th anniversary, Jacques Saadé decides to inaugurate the fleet’s flagship in Marseille, home of CMA CGM Group. The vessel is inaugurated on 4 June, 2013, with the President of the French Republic, François Hollande. This event is also the occasion to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Company. The ship is deployed on the FAL, the largest shipping route for both the CMA CGM Group and the world.
OCEAN THREE : a new and unique service offering, combining speed and reliability
Rodolphe Saadé headed the discussions leading to the three key agreements on the biggest worldwide maritime trades with China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC). Under the name of OCEAN THREE, the agreements concern the following maritime trades: Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Transpacific and Asia-United States East Coast.
CMA CGM announces the acquisition of OPDR
OPDR (Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschiffs-Rhederei GmbH & Co. KG) is a shipping expert in Short Sea Shipping and door to door logistics for North Europe, Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco. With its over 200 dedicated collaborators and its network of agencies, the company connects Europe, Scandinavia and North Africa.
New terminals and CCIS
2015 is an active for CMA CGM’s development in logistics. Indeed, CMA CGM signs an agreement to operate a logistics platform in cooperation with a Cuban company, obtains the Kribi Container Terminal concession for a period of 25 years, obtains the Kingston Containers Terminal concession, and inaugurates its new logistics platform in Douala while announcing the creation of CCIS, its entity dedicated to inland transportation solutions development.
Historical visit of the Chinese Prime Minister LI Keqiang
The Chinese Prime Minister Mr Li Keqiang visits CMA CGM headquarters in Marseilles on July 1st. During this exceptional visit, two major agreements are signed: A partnership between China Merchants (CMHI) and CMA CGM to develop the strategic “One Belt, One Road” project and A USD 1 billion financing solutions framework agreement with the Chinese bank CEXIM.
Inauguration of the CMA CGM Bougainville
The CMA CGM BOUGAINVILLE, the world largest containership sailing under French flag, is inaugurated on Tuesday October 6th by French President François Hollande in Le Havre. During the ceremony, French President François Hollande pays tribute to CMA CGM and Jacques Saadé success.
CMA CGM and Digital solutions
With various improvements to its eBusiness platform, the development of a mobile app, and the introduction of the Traxens container monitoring technology, CMA CGM makes 2015 a year of digital innovation. These improvements reassert the Group’s will to take the maritime industry into Big Data.$
Objective achieved: in 10 years, CMA CGM has improved its Carbon performance by 50%
After an initial objective set in 2005, the group managed to reduced its carbon emissions by 50% per container on its owned fleet. This achievement was made possible by investing in technical innovation, operational excellence, and the use of large-capacity vessels.
A year of giants
Many large-capacity vessels are being added to the group’s owned fleet : the CMA CGM Bougainville, the CMA CGM Vasco De Gama, the CMA CGM Georg Forster, the CMA CGM Kerguelen, the CMA CGM Zheng He, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin and more than 14 vessels from 9400 TEUs to 10 900 TEUs named after rivers. In line the with CMA CGM environmental strategy, all these vessels are equipped with efficient technologies.
The CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN becomes the largest container-ship ever to call the United States
In 2015, Jacques R.Saadé, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, decided to deploy an 18,000-TEU capacity vessel to the U.S for a trial call. On December 26th 2015, CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN called the Port of Los Angeles and became the first carrier to call at a U.S. port with a vessel of this size. The vessel was inaugurated in Port of Long Beach on February 19th.
CMA CGM announces the acquisition of NOL
Headquartered in Singapore, NOL is the largest shipping company listed on the Singapore Exchange. Its container shipping arm, APL, provides world-class container shipping and terminal services, as well as intermodal operations supported by leading-edge IT and e-commerce. APL offers transcontinental cargo shipping across Asia, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Australia through more than 80 weekly services calling at 160 ports worldwide.
Jacques Saadé names Rodolphe Saadé Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group
Jacques Saadé announcs the appointment of his son Rodolphe Saadé as Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group. Jacques Saadé remains Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Rodolphe Saadé becomes Chairman of the Board; Jacques Saaadé becomes Founder Chairman
On November 24th, 2017, Jacques Saadé appoints Rodolphe Saadé Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group. Jacques Saadé is appointed Founder Chairman.
Death of Mr. Jacques R. Saadé, Founding President of the CMA CGM Group
On June 24th, at the age of 81. Jacques R. Saadé dedicated his life to CMA CGM. An extraordinary visionary and entrepreneur, he made the Group into a world leader in the maritime transport of containers, developing the company in more than 160 countries, while maintaining the family dimension with its values.