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Logistics and airfreight underpin CMA CGM’s transition to integrated transport group

New Better Ways campaign to highlight next stage in French group’s evolution and commitment to sustainable transport services

CMA CGM executive officer Tanya Saadé Zeenny tells Lloyd's List that the business founded by her father and uncle has reached a milestone and that “it is our belief that better ways of doing business are possible”, as the group sets out five strategic pillars that will shape its future

CMA CGM has placed sea, air, and land transport at the heart of new campaign as it continues to transition from a conventional container shipping company to one providing a complete range of intermodal services.

Sustainability, digitalisation, innovation, and safety also feature prominently in the Better Ways initiative launched on Monday to underline the French group’s evolution and transformation.

CMA CGM Group executive officer Tanya Saadé Zeenny described the commitments set out under its new signature as “a demonstration of what CMA CGM brings to the client and to the industry”.

The family-controlled group has been one of the pioneers of containerisation over the past four decades as it grew to become a top-flight player. In an industry where service differentiation is often difficult, and freight markets regarded as commoditised, CMA CGM has established a strong brand as well as a reputation for agility, plus a keen eye for new business and acquisition opportunities.

CMA CGM chairman and chief executive Rodolphe Saadé wants to ensure the group remains at the forefront of the industry as it responds to a fast-changing global marketplace and corresponding shipper and forwarder requirements.

“Today, our group is evolving, growing and transforming very rapidly and becoming a world leader in both shipping and logistics,” Mrs Saadé Zeenny told Lloyd’s List. “We are committed to energy transition, to digital transformation, and to our customers and all our staff members, and all this is reflected through our new image, Better Ways.”

The timing of the new campaign follows the acquisition of the Swiss logistics group CEVA just over two years ago, and the more recent move into air freight in early 2021. This enables CMA CGM to deliver a complete range of end-to-end services, including warehousing as well as all modes of transport, to give customers more choice than ever before.

“We can now offer more coherent logistics, land, sea, and air solutions,” said Mrs Saadé Zeenny whose father, Jacques Saadé, and uncle, Farid Salem, founded CMA CGM in 1978.

“This a milestone for the CMA CGM Group,” she added.  “It is our belief that better ways of doing business are possible.”

The group signature is built around five strategic pillars: further expansion of shipping; efficient and seamless logistics services; innovation and digitalisation; solutions that are more people- and planet-friendly; and support for staff to develop their skills and talents.

“Better Ways is a game changer that embodies a mindset and a commitment for logistics and transport solutions that are more responsible and efficient while being built on strongly humane values from a family-led enterprise,” said Mrs Saadé Zeenny, who is also president of the CMA CGM Foundation.

The Marseilles-headquartered group remains committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 but regards liquefied natural gas “as the best solution currently available”, while alternative non-carbon fuels are developed. CMA CGM has led the way in the use of LNG for large containerships, and despite doubts expressed in some quarters, insists that the time to act is now, rather than wait. Later this month, the line will take delivery of its ninth LNG-powered 23,000 teu ship.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain solutions and other new technologies are all being developed as part of the goal to offer smarter, smoother, and more secure services.

This is enabling CMA CGM to put together integrated end-to-end solutions and adapt to customers’ needs “which have drastically changed”, according to Mrs Saadé Zeenny.

CMA CGM also continues to focus on humanitarian work, sending emergency relief to Lebanon following the deadly blast in the port of Beirut last year, and more recently more flying out medical supplies and equipment to India as the country struggled with soaring coronavirus infections.

The triptych of images that features in the Better Ways campaign is designed to illustrate the group’s shipping and logistics activities against the backdrop of its commitment to both people and the environment, said Mrs Saadé Zeenny, and to unlocking new ways of creating value for its customers, partners, and staff.

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