CMA CGM and Coast Guard San Francisco test ultra-large container vessel CMA CGM CENTAURUS towing capabilities

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Coast Guard Sector San Francisco personnel and CMA CGM the third largest shipping group, along with other local industry partners, were testing the Bay Area’s capability to tow ultra-large container vessels during an exercise that was held Wednesday. The vessel used for this exercise was the CMA CGM CENTAURUS, a 11,400 TEU container ship measuring 365 meters.

The purpose of the towing demonstration was to test the capability of existing tug assets within San Francisco Bay to connect to and tow an ultra-large container vessel.

This was the first such attempt in the United States. The demonstration is intended as a learning experience conducted within the confines of the Bay to enhance preparedness for emergency towing operations either in the Bay or in the approaches to San Francisco.

” The Coast Guard is excited to be a part of this ground-breaking demonstration, “ said Capt. Gregory Stump, Sector San Francisco commander before the exercise.
” This is a prime example of the forward-leaning posture of the San Francisco Bay Area Harbor Safety Committee and a testament to the commitment of our maritime community to safety and environmental protection. ”

Commenting on the operation, Marc Bourdon, President at CMA CGM America declared:

“We are very proud to cooperate with the US Coast Guards and the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee for this drilling exercise, which illustrates CMA CGM’s strong commitment to safety and security.”

The CMA CGM Group is a leading and recognized industry player in the field of safety & security, and constantly aims to achieve the highest security standards at all times.

Exercise Sponsor: San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee
Exercise participants include: Sector San Francisco personnel and San Francisco Bar Pilots

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO at the inauguration of the new terminal n°5 in Southampton (Photo Gallery)

CMA CGM Marco Polo at the SCT5 inauguration.

On March 31, the CMA CGM MARCO POLO, 16,000 TEUs vessel, deployed on the Group’s shipping line FAL1, was the highlight of the inauguration of the Southampton Container Terminal Southampton (SCT 5), operated by DP Wolrd, in Great Britain.

The opening ceremony began by loading the ship with a container painted in gold, the top departure having been given by the quadruple Olympic gold medalist and winner of the 2013 America cup, Sir Ben Ainslie.

CMA CGM has relied for many years on the Southampton Terminal Management and it operates 4 of its services (FAL1, FAL3, EPIC, FEMEX). The opening of Terminal 5, perfectly adapted to the largest vessels, confirms this strategy.

Pictures of the event

The 45′ container – a CMA CGM Group specialty attracting growing interest


The 45′ High Cube is a very special type of container. Longer than standard units (20’ and 40’), it has ISO-standard intermediary corners making it totally compatible with other container types. With nearly 14,500 x 45’ HC and 3,500 x 45′ HW Pallet Wide, it may represent a small part of CMA CGM’s container fleet but a significant share of the market compared to the competition (20%).

This container, which was initially dedicated to American markets, is now seeing intensive seasonal use with Trans-Pacific traffic, as the United States imports a lot of Chinese products during July, August and September in preparation for the high level of economic activity at the end of the year (Peak Season).

Because it corresponds to the dimensions of American road transport trailers the 45’ container is perfectly adapted to American trailer trucks and can transport 12.5% more merchandise, thus making it an indispensable piece of equipment.

Demand for the 45’ is steadily increasing and is also on the rise in Europe and the Mediterranean. During the summer months, more than a thousand 45’ containers were loaded each week out of Asia.

To meet this demand, the Group increased the capacity of the 45’ container fleet by 14%.

Demand for the 45’ will only continue to grow in the years to come. Being able to load more merchandise in one container reduces a cargo’s carbon footprint. This ecological aspect of the 45’ is bound to interest users of this type of container, which are mostly the big retailers who are very conscious of this aspect. Taking it one step further on the eco-responsible path, all the new 45’ containers have environmentally-friendly bamboo floors.

How it works : Chartering, Sale and Purchase Management

Container shipping chartering

CMA CGM, being the third world’s largest container shipping Group, manages a big fleet of vessels. Its fleet could be splited up in two parts :

  • the fleet owned by the CMA CGM Group, composed by container-ships bought by the Group. (The CMA CGM Jule Verne for example)
  • the fleet chartered by the CMA CGM Group, composed by container-ships hired by the group, allows the Group to respond to market volume variations.

The Chartering, Sale and Purchase Department, located at Marseille, manages the chartered fleet of the Group. Actually, most of the management of CMA CGM ‘s activity is conducted from the CMA CGM Tower or agencies.

Objective and usefulness of chartering

The Chartering Department ‘s principal mission is to supply “lines” (departments responsible for the management of maritime shipping routes) with what they need in terms of capacity, speed, consumption, reefer plugs, cranes if necessary, and other facilities.

Chartering offers flexibility to lines permitting rapid increases or decreases in the capacity deployed on CMA CGM line services. We can also charter vessels on one day and have them at our disposal the day after, which is particularly useful in cases of technical problems or damage.

Organisation and figures for a changing fleet

On June 30, the CMA CGM Group had 429 vessels at its disposal, 83 of which belong to the Group, 8 bareboat chartered vessels and 338 chartered vessels. These figures vary from month to month. Since January 2013, we have chartered 250 vessels, of which 111 involved new contracts – the remainder being renewals of existing contracts – and we have redelivered 96 vessels. All charter contracts must be authorized by Jacques Saadé.

  • The front office : their job is to choose vessels according to their technical specifications, the identity of the ship Owner, the date and place of availability and, after that, they deal with the contracts, which include details of the date and place of availability, the length and cost of the contract, the time and place of redelivery and other details. A contract contains about thirty pages that contain all vessel details and modalities of the sharing of responsibilities. Contracts are negotiated either directly with ship Owners or via brokers.
  • The charter operations service : this service deals with the operational aspects of a charter being the link between the line and the ship Owners over the whole length of the contracts. The service has 7 staff members who organize ship inspections upon delivery and redelivery. They also carry out surprise inspections in order to ensure that vessels are being maintained correctly ;
  • Post fixing : this 14-member team looks after the financial side of the contracts – and particularly the payment of charter costs to ship Owners – by taking into account time lost if a vessel is navailable for one reason or another, and this time is deducted from the amount payable, as well as all sums advanced to ship Owners by Group agents.
Do you want to join us ? Check out our career opportunities on Linkedin or our Website..

Building a container-ship : who are the experts ?

Containerships are a concentration of technology and can vary in size right up to the vast dimensions of the CMA CGM JULES VERNE. To build container vessels of this size you need a suitable shipyard. Here we look at who are the world champions when it comes to containership construction:


Which countries are the leaders in containership construction?

For all containerships

The main countries building container vessels are South Korea, China and Japan. The biggest shipyards in the world are Hyundai, Samsung and DSME, all of which are in South Korea. These three have the experience required to build the giant 16,000 and 18,000 TEU vessels.

The main countries building container vessels are South Korea, China and Japan. The biggest shipyards in the world are Hyundai, Samsung and DSME, all of which are in South Korea. These three have the experience required to build the giant 16,000 and 18,000 TEU vessels.

The only Western countries in this market are the US, Germany, Romania, Brazil and the Netherlands. And most of them represent less than 0.5% of global production.

Countries building containerships (Source: Alphaliner, 11 June 2013)

For the giant containerships (>10,000 TEU)

But for the construction of a giant like the CMA CGM JULES VERNE, the Asian countries are the only ones on the market. South Korea, as always, dominates with 72.9% making it the undisputed leader, while China (22.8%) and Japan (4.2%) share the remainder.

In South Korea, there are three leading containership yards: Daewoo (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which are almost on a par in terms of market share, and Samsung.

Left : Countries building containerships >10,000 TEU (Source: Alphaliner, 11 June 2013)
Right : Shipyards building containerships >10,000 TEU (Source: Alphaliner, 11 June 2013)

In Europe

In France, in Saint-Nazaire, the shipyards shine in cruise ships construction.

In Europe, several shipyards have the capability to build small-size container vessels, and are the experts for specialised containerships, like Reefer vessels, Conro, vessels for carrying non-standard containers, etc. The largest on order to be built in Europe are 9,000 TEU-capacity ships in a Korean shipyard in Romania.

Jobs and professions on board a containership: special skills

On board ship every crew member knows exactly what he or she has to do and how. Jobs are divided into two main categories:

Deck department


On deck we find the Captain, responsible for the vessel and only one authorised to act as interlocutor with departments ashore. At his side is the Chief Officer supervising loading / discharging operations and safety, plus a Second Officer and Radio Officer, one to oversee navigation and the other security.

Then we have the Bosun who manages the teams of Deckhands and Ordinary Seamen who maintain and run the deck and are involved in all manoeuvres in port.

Engine department


In the engine department, the Chief Engineer assisted by a First, a Second and a Third Engineer is responsible for maintaining and keeping the engines running. His team also includes an Electrician, a Reeferman (in charge of refrigerated containers) and other Engineers.
And as for life aboard and the crew’s wellbeing, that is in the hands of the Chef and a Steward.


Did you know?

  • Despite the gigantic size of some vessels, the crews on containerships are relatively few in number – on average only 20 to 22 people.
  • 22 officers and 4 crew members are women! But take note: on board there’s no difference! Only their skills count.
  • Of course we have French crew, but also Croats, Romanians, Ukrainians and Filipinos – all countries that are renowned for the quality of their maritime training.

The quality of our seafarers and their skills may be essential on board but also invaluable ashore. Indeed, CMA CGM calls on its seafarers to develop training materials, to improve procedures and take on provisional assignments at the Fleet Center.
And when they decide to settle down on terra firma, they make excellent Superintendents or Ship Managers.

Terminal operations and nocturnal departure in Hong-Kong for the CMA CGM Jules Verne (Photos)

On May 14, the CMA CGM Jules Verne arrived in Hong Kong in the morning. Discover in these pictures a peek of the terminal operations and the ship’s departure at night.

The pictures of the operations and the ship’s departure

Photos of the morning arrival for the CMA CGM Jules Verne in Hong Kong

On may 14, the CMA CGM Jules Verne called Hong-Kong port for his first rotation. The ship arrived in the fog and the morning light, and waited for the pilot boats to accompany her into the port. Discover the exclusive pictures of the giant’s entrance into the Hong-Kong terminal.

CMA CGM Jules Verne : Pictures of the vessel in Ningbo, China

Two amazing pictures of the CMA CGM Jules Verne in Ningbo. The giant terminal cranes are only fitting for this giant of the seas.


The CMA CGM Jules Verne, docked in Ningbo port


The CMA CGM Jules Verne, docked in Ningbo port, under the terminal cranes

CMA CGM Jules Verne : Pictures of the first call in Busan, South Korea

Discover the exclusive pictures of the first container being loaded on the CMA CGM Jules Verne in Busan, South Korea

The CMA CGM Jules Verne in Busan

The CMA CGM Jules Verne, docked in Busan port

The CMA CGM Jules Verne in Busan

A container being loaded on the CMA CGM Jules Verne

The CMA CGM Jules Verne in Busan

A container being loaded on the CMA CGM Jules Verne