Lebanon Businessnews News

Jacques Saadé
passes away at 81
CMA CGM boss built third largest

shipping company in the world

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Jacques Saadé, founder of global shipping group Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement Compagnie Generale Maritime (CMA CGM), passed away Sunday at the age of 81.

Jacques Saadé was born in Beirut, in 1937.

After graduating from the London School of Economics in 1957, he took over the family’s agricultural manufacturing business.

In 1978, he moved to France, where he set up CMA. The local representative of the group released a statement paying tribute to Saadé.

“He began with four employees, a single ship and only one maritime service between Marseilles and Beirut. He was always attentive to strengthening the ties between France and Lebanon,” it said.

Anticipating major developments in world trade, and convinced that the container would play a critical role in these changes, Saadé opened CMA’s first office in China, in Shanghai in 1992. China quickly became the most important market for CMA, helping to make it the number one container shipping company in France.

From 1996 to 2008, Saadé focused on the group’s expansion via external growth. He acquired CGM when it was privatized in 1996, then merged it with CMA, which led to the birth of the CMA CGM Group in 1999.

This acquisition was a turning point for the group, and the first in a series of targeted acquisitions that would position CMA CGM Group as a world leader in shipping. These acquisitions made CMA CGM Group the third-largest shipping company in the world in 2005, a position it still holds. Companies acquired include:

The Government-owned Australian National Line (ANL) in 1998
The French company DELMAS in 2005
The Chinese company Taiwan’s Cheng Lie Navigation Co., Ltd. (CNC)
The American firm U.S. LINES in 2007
The Germany-based firm MacAndrews
The Moroccan company COMANAV

To build the CMA CGM vessel fleet, Saadé decided early on to invest in large containerships.
CMA CGM serves more than 420 ports with a fleet of 494 vessels.

The group operates in 160 countries on five continents via a global network of 755 agencies. It employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. In 2017, it posted revenue of $21.1 billion.

CMA CGM carried more than 19 million Twenty-Foot Equivalents (TEU) in 2017. TEU is a unit of cargo capacity based on the volume of a 20-foot cargo container.

Saadé last year appointed his son Rodolphe Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group.

CMA CGM is a major shipper locally as well.

It is the only company besides MSC that handles transshipment at Port of Beirut. The company recently opened 6,000 m2 of warehouse and office space in Port of Tripoli’s free zone.

During the first year of activity, CMA CGM handled 51 percent of Port of Tripoli’s volume, which represents 7,538 TEUs. Continuous growth is expected in 2018, with forecasts indicating an increase of more than 20,000 TEUs.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jun 25, 2018
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