On the occasion of the CIMer interministerial sea committee, Jean Castex, France’s prime minister, visited the CMA CGM JAACQUES SAADE, the flagship of the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, alongside Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM’s Chairman & CEO, and Édouard Philippe, mayor of Le Havre and a former prime minister of France.

The CMA CGM JACQUES SAADE, the world’s largest containership powered by liquefied natural gas and sailing under the French flag, was making her first call in Le Havre at the Terminal de France of the Grand Port Maritime du Havre.

CMA CGM, a strategically important operator for the French economy

The Group, which plays a key role in helping to power the French economy, currently serves 10 ports throughout the country, operating 49 shipping lines towards worldwide destinations. It made a total of 2,500 calls during 2020. At present, CMA CGM also has 5,700 employees in France, including 500 French sailors, with 27 ships sailing under the French flag and showcasing our country’s excellence.

CMA CGM helps French businesses export their expertise around the world and ships over 6,000,000 tons of goods p.a. from France’s ports. It has over 7,000 customers in France—both large groups and many small- and medium-sized enterprises—and supports their international development.

As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread in early 2020, CMA CGM immediately responded by setting up an unprecedented air bridge and sea bridge to transport medical equipment to France, as well as hundreds of millions of facemasks.

Lastly, the Group is helping to establish France as a center of excellence in LNG for the shipping industry through its decision to sail the 14 LNG-powered container ships it owns under the French flag.

CMA CGM, a major port terminal operator in France

Rodolphe Saadé and Édouard Philippe inaugurated 4 next-generation gantry cranes. The cranes are 54 meters high and can span 26 rows of container, which means they can handle all the largest vessels, including the CMA CGM Group’s 9 23,000-TEU containerships calling at Le Havre.

The CMA CGM Group operates 5 port terminals in France and is currently France’s largest cargo handler, with a volume of close to 3 million TEUs handled in France. It constantly invests in cutting-edge terminal facilities to help boost the competitiveness of French ports.

LNG, a visionary decision to preserve air quality and an energy source with a bright future

Back in November 2017, Rodolphe Saadé, made the visionary decision to order 9 LNG-powered 23,000-TEU ships, a first in the history of the shipping industry for vessels of this size.The CMA CGM Group now operates 10 LNG-powered containerships and will have a fleet of 26 containerships of various sizes by 2022 (see appendix for list and details).

LNG is currently the state-of-the-art industry solution for preserving air quality. It delivers a reduction of 99% in sulfur dioxide, 91% in particulate matter emissions and 92% in nitrogen oxide emissions, surpassing the requirements of current regulations. LNG also provides an initial response to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel emits up to 20% less CO2 than fuel-powered systems. This technology is one of the first steps the CMA CGM Group is taking to meet its target of being carbon-neutral by 2050.

CMA CGM, a pioneer leading the energy transition in shipping

The CMA CGM Group has always considered its business performance as intrinsically linked to its social and environmental performance. It is actively implementing measures to accelerate the industry’s energy transition and is significantly investing in research and development to design the clean vessels of the future. In 2019, the Group became the world’s first shipping company to successfully test a biofuel comprising 20% recycled plant oil and forestry waste. It has pledged that alternative fuels will cover at least 10% of its consumption by 2023.

CMA CGM has been firmly committed for several years to protecting the environment and marine biodiversity, as well as to reducing its carbon footprint. To this end, it has made a number of game-changing decisions:
Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, commented: “France is a leading sea-faring nation. The visit by the French prime minister, members of his government and Édouard Philippe underscores the importance of the sea economy and the strategically important role played by shipping and all port operators. A vessel like the CMA CGM JACQUES SAADE will help us to rise and meet the major challenges of the future—the shift to cleaner energy and the expansion of the French economy.”

  • The key policy decision not to use Northern Sea routes in order to protect the Arctic’s fragile and unique ecosystems
  • Speed reductions by its vessels in certain areas that serve as key breeding grounds for whales and marine mammals, such as the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada, where CMA CGM’s ships cut their speed to 10 knots to avoid the risk of collision
  • The addition to its ships of an approved ballast water treatment system, which clears the discharged water of any living organisms that may harm marine life
  • The development of various cutting-edge environmentally friendly technologies to raise its fleet’s efficiency and cut energy consumption: reprofiled bow shapes to achieve a better hydrodynamic performance, as well as propeller and engine innovations to cut CO2 emissions and oil and fuel consumption