World / China-France

Shipping group in France sees growth of unique ties

By Zhang Chunyan in Marseille, France (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-01 07:36

CMA CGM Group, the world's third-largest shipping company, is confident about China's future and will continue strengthening its presence and cooperation with China.

"China is our group's first market," said Jacques R. Saade, CEO and founder of CMA CGM, the biggest shipping group in France.

His words came before a visit by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday to the group's Marseille headquarters.

"This visit is not only a great recognition of the unique ties that we have developed with China, but also a tremendous proof of trust," Saade said.

He disclosed that two major economic agreements between the group and Chinese companies will be concluded during Li's visit, but he didn't give any details.

Since the establishment of CMA CGM's first Chinese office in Shanghai in 1992, the group has created strong relations with many Chinese companies.

"Our group has total confidence in Chinese groups' expertise. The fact that many of our vessels and all our containers are produced in China is testimony to this confidence," he said.

Shipping group in France sees growth of unique ties

Last year, CMA CGM took delivery of 75,000 new standard containers and 20,000 refrigerated containers from China International Marine Containers, the world's No 1 company for container construction.

Additionally, in recent years, CMA CGM has taken delivery of several vessels - ranging in size from 9,400 to 10,900 twenty-foot equivalent units' cargo capacity - built by Chinese shipyards.

"Three of the group's largest vessels are due to be delivered before the end of 2015," Saade said.

The CMA CGM Zheng He, expected to join the group's fleet in September, will become its largest vessel and is named after China's great explorer.

"When I first visited China in 1988, I was struck by its people and dynamism," Saade said. "I felt the country's strong potential and saw its future as a key player in world manufacturing."

The group has since developed into a strong network of 74 offices, employing 1,700 people.

"Our history is based on a deep knowledge of China and on the creation of strong partnerships with Chinese companies," he said. "I strongly believe the relationship we have built together during two decades is reinforced and will bear even more fruit in the future."

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