35 years ago, on September 13th 1978 in Marseilles, Jacques R. Saadé founded CMA, Compagnie maritime d’affrètement, and launched the first service linking Marseilles, Livourne, Beirut and Latakia. His vision and intuition subsequently led him to extend the company’s activities in Asia and the rest of the world. Today, the CMA CGM Group present on every continent through its 650 agencies, employs 18,000 people worldwide and is ranked the third largest container shipping company in the world.
1978: the birth of a world leader
Jacques R. Saadé witnessed the beginnings of container transport in the United States in the early 1960s whilst attending an internship, and he became convinced that containers were the future of international sea cargo transport. It was as a result of this realization that CMA was founded on September 13th 1978 in Marseilles.
Operating at the beginning between Marseilles in France, Livourne in Italy, Beirut in Lebanon and Latakia in Syria, the Group rapidly expanded its activities to the whole of the Mediterranean Basin. Following again his intuition, Jacques R. Saadés and CMA conquer markets in Asia, which was to become the future epicenter of worldwide trade, in the 1980s. Precursor, the company opened agencies all over the region, especially in China from 1992.
The acquisition of CGM in 1996 represented a major step in the Group’s development which was followed by the acquisition of several regional shippers (ANL, CNC Line, Comanav, DELMAS, Mac Andrews and US Lines) offering the Group a global coverage. Culmination of its development strategy, the Group opened its capital to the Yildirim Group in 2010 and to the French Fonds Stratégique d’investissement (FSI) in 2013, in mandatory convertible bonds.
2013: 35 years of passion serving more than 150,000 clients a month
In just 35 years the CMA CGM Group has become a major player of international shipping. The company employs over 18,000 people through its 650 agencies spread over 150 countries. Operating a fleet of429 vessels the Group is present on every continent and serves more than 400 of the world’s 521 commercial ports. As a responsible leader, the Group is engaged since 2003 in an ambitious environmental policy and has created a corporate foundation dedicated to weakened children.
Marking the Group’s 35th birthday, the CMA CGM JULES VERNE, the company’s flagship displaying exceptional dimensions, deviated from its route to make a call in Marseilles, where she has been inaugurated by François Hollande, President of the French Republic, on June 4th 2013. At this occasion, the French President congratulated Jacques R. Saadé and the CMA CGM Group on their success.
Passion, initiative, boldness, imagination and integrity are as much values that guided the CMA CGM Group’s development. After 35 years of existence the Group remains faithful to its founding ambitions, and is now looking to the future. As all great human and entrepreneurial adventure deserves to be immortalized, a book retracing the 35 years of the company’s existence and achievements will be published in fall.