You’ll find below the second episode of our saga dedicated to Jacques Saadé’s Group:
1980: CMA buys its first two vessels: Ville d’Orient and Ville du Levant
This initial Mediterranean service grew to include the North Continent and CMA acquired its first vessels, the Ville d’Orient and the Ville du Levant. From the North Continent, Jacques Saadé decided that the Company needed to move further and to connect the North American East Coast with the Levant. The Company which by then reached 65 staff had to expand to new offices.
1981: the multimodal
In 1981 Jacques Saadé also realized very soon that customers expected carriers to provide transportation service beyond sea carriage and to carry the box from the factory to the warehouse or the distribution center. Shipping companies had to move inland and invest in Intermodal services which imply investments in trucking, barging and railing as well as inland depots and dry ports, a decision which was made early by CMA CGM. In Europe, all these activities were developed through several entities which would all be regrouped in 2012 under the name GREENMODAL transport. As a natural next step, the Group also created later on CMA CGM Logistics.
1983 The first crossing of the Suez Canal
In 1983, CMA decided to “Go East”, crossing the Suez Canal and launching the “Red Sea Express” Service calling at Aqaba, Jeddah and Hodeida to take advantage of the development boom in the Red Sea and the natural next step was to serve the Middle East Gulf markets. Mina Qaboos, in the Sultanate of Oman, became one of CMA’s first hubs wherefrom the Indian Sub-Continent was also served.
1986: Asia or “the great jump toward East”
In 1986, CMA pushed further east, opening its first Far East Europe Service, which was anticipating the fact that China would soon bypass the other “Asian Tigers” and that the future of CMA was in Asia. Facts were to prove Jacques Saadé right for by 1989, China was firmly on the economic liberalization tracks and was soon to become the “factory of the world”.