On September 13th, 1978 the first maritime line between Marseilles and Beirut was launched with only one ship and 4 employees. Jacques R. Saadé was the visionary and man behind this launch and now 40 years later CMA CGM is a global leader in the shipping industry, employing over 34,000 people and active in more than 160 countries.
Jacques fled the Lebanese war and settled in Marseilles to protect his family. He realized international trade was evolving at a rapid rate and was convinced that containerization would have a crucial role to play in the industry. Soon after he created Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement (CMA).
Exceptional growth followed and as early as 1983 their first crossing of the Suez Canal was completed with the vessel Ville De Sahara, opening up the route into the Orient. Just three years later in 1986, a new line was launched linking Northern Europe to the Far-East. Jacques knew in advance what a vital role China would play in becoming the world’s factory, with this in mind he opened his first Shanghai-based CMA maritime agency in 1992.
The CMA CGM Group expanded their key markets throughout the years, a result of combining a development strategy with targeted acquisitions such as CGM in 1996, ANL in 1998, Delmas in 2005, APL in 2016, and more recently Sofrana and Mercosul in 2017.
Jacques R. Saadé has a special affinity with the city of Marseilles, this love affair with the city was exemplified when he built the CMA CGM Tower in 2006, which is headquarters for the group and has become a symbol of the French city.
The CMA CGM Group has become a global reference in the maritime transportation industry, now headed up by Rodolphe Saadé the group continues to pursue development based on five strategic priorities:
- ‘‘Customer Centricity‘‘ by creating real innovative partnerships with customers: the launch of new offers like Serenity, Reeflex and Climactive, the most advanced technology for the transportation of highly sensitive fruits and vegetables by the active-controlled atmosphere,
- The development of the Group in the maritime, logistics and in-land sectors: acquisition of a stake of 25% in CEVA to propose a complete range of services,
- Innovation and digitalization: ZeBox, the start-up incubator and accelerator initiated by CMA CGM, will open its doors soon in Marseilles and will welcome initiatives from all around the world,
- Reinforcement of human expertise combined to an agile organization,
Committed to the protection of the environment, over the last 15 years CMA CGM has implemented an ambitious policy in this field which already seen a reduction of 50% in carbon emissions by transported container per kilometer, between 2005 and 2015. The group has an additional goal to reduce C02 emissions by a further 30% by the year 2025.