The CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the largest vessel ever to call the United States, will be inaugurated in Long Beach today

CMA CGM, a leading worldwide shipping Group, is pleased to announce that the 18,000 TEU capacity CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the largest vessel ever to call the United States, was inaugurated today in Long Beach in the presence of Jacques R. Saadé, CMA CGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.


A unique event for the U.S. shipping industry

This exceptional inauguration gathered more than 600 well-known American figures from economic, industrial, institutional and political backgrounds.

Alongside Jacques R. Saadé, a large CMA CGM delegation came especially for the occasion, including Rodolphe Saadé, Vice Chairman, Tanya Saadé Zeenny, Executive Officer, Farid Salem, Executive Officer, Marc Bourdon, President of CMA CGM (America) LLC, Olivier Nivoix, Vice President North America lines, Ed Aldridge, President of US Lines – a CMA CGM subsidiary - and many other Senior Managers of the Group.

Here are some quotes from Jacques R. Saadé during his speech

Jacques R. Saadé

CMA CGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We look forward to developing the shipping business between the United States , the Far East and Europe. [...]

We have named the vessel after Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of your great nation. Benjamin Franklin was the link between our two nations. [...]

We are confident that US ports will continue to upgrade their infrastructure and we are willing to accompany these improvements. The United States will progressively have bigger ships to serve its markets. [...]

We are also confident in the upturn of the US Economy. [...]

By bringing the largest container vessel ever to US shores, we are confirming our willingness to strengthen our presence in the United States. [...]

We will develop the US flag and fleet. [...]

He concluded his speech with a quote from Benjamin Franklin “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."

This inauguration is a major event for the shipping industry in the United States.

With her 1,300 ft. length and 18,000-TEU capacity, she is the largest container ship ever to call the United States. The CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN symbolizes CMA CGM’s faith in the American economy, as well as its ambition to be a pioneer and leader in the maritime industry in the United States.

CMA CGM, a company at the forefront of shipping in the United States

The CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’s Long Beach call this Friday is part of a series of 4 trial-calls decided by Jacques R. Saadé to prepare U.S. ports to accommodate larger vessels.

CMA CGM strongly believes that the future of American ports lies in the ability to handle such vessels. As a pioneer, the CMA CGM Group worked with all stakeholders – dockers, harbor pilots, intermodal companies, port authorities, city officials etc. – to help terminals host these vessels and to guarantee optimized performance without generating congestion.

Such trials help test American port operations on a real scale and accompany their future evolution.

CMA CGM is a historical partner of trade between the United States and the rest of World

CMA CGM and the United States share a unique history. Jacques R. Saadé discovered the container – a metallic box invented by Malcom McLean in 1954 - in the United States during the sixties. During an internship in New York, he observed the American army using containers to supply its troops with clothes, food and other basic commodities during the Vietnam War. He perceived and anticipated the revolution this mode of transportation would bring to exchanges on an international scale, and created CMA in 1978.

In 1997, he opened the first CMA CGM office in the United States. In 2007, he acquired US Lines, an American company offering regular weekly services on the Transpacific and Australasian trades from the United States.

Today, CMA CGM has a staff of 1,000 in the United States. This solid network offers American customers 23 weekly maritime services, and connects 14 American ports to more than 150 countries in the world.

By choosing to inaugurate the CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN in Long Beach, California , and naming her after one of America’s Founding Fathers, ambassador of the United States to France and strong defender of the friendship between the two countries, CMA CGM shows its commitment to the United States, as well as its determination to be a major partner for US trade.




Photo credits: Courtesy of Port of Long Beach

Press contact (CMA CGM):

Press contact:
Alan Oshiki or Blair Hennessy
Abernathy MacGregor
(212) 371-5999

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