Everything started in the 1960s’. Jacques R. Saadé was then student at the London School of Economics. He went to New York in the U.S. for an internship at the maritime company Isbrandtsen, and discovered the existence of the container. This transportation mode for commodities had been invented a few years back, in 1956, by Malcolm McLean.
When connecting to different American ports, Malcolm McLean found out that road transportation was completely saturated and that it would be better to access them by the sea. He then had the idea to directly board the truck trailers onto the ships. Realizing that the space could be even more optimized, he thought about removing the chassis and only boarding the box containing the commodities. The container was born.
Those containers allow not only gaining space onboard the ships but they make possible the transportation for all types of goods. The American Army understood it quickly and used those metallic boxes to supply its troops in clothes, food and other basic commodities, during the Vietnam War.
Jacques R. Saadé, visionary, anticipated the potential of those containers and the revolution they would involve in terms of exchanges of goods at an international scale. He created CMA in 1978, which then became CMA CGM, a leading worldwide shipping group that carries 13 million containers a year. Today, Jacques R. Saadé makes the CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN the largest vessel ever to call at a U.S. port.