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CMA CGM, Air France-KLM Sign Strategic Air Cargo Partnership

The CMA CGM Group and Air France-KLM Group have signed a 10-year strategic partnership in the air cargo market.

The exclusive partnership will see both parties combine their complementary cargo networks, full freighter capacity and dedicated services to build an even more competitive offer thanks to the know-how and global footprint of Air France-KLM and CMA CGM.

In signing the deal CMA CGM and Air France-KLM said they share a strong ambition to invest and sustainably grow in the air freight business. They also share an ambition to increase their sustainability and have both committed to Net Zero Carbon by 2050.

Air France-KLM and CMA CGM will join and exclusively operate the full-freighter aircraft capacity of the respective airlines consisting initially of a fleet of 10 full-freighter aircraft and an additional combined 12 aircraft on order.

This new commercial partnership also covers Air France-KLM’s belly aircraft capacity, including over 160 long-haul aircraft. The partnership will leverage both partners’ respective global sales teams, presenting one voice to the customer.

The strategic commercial partnership is expected to generate significant revenue synergies, including the joint design of the full freighter networks and enhanced products and services mix opportunities, the companies said. It leverages Air France-KLM’s vast existing franchise, experience and capabilities in air freight, backed by a global cargo network, while CMA CGM will mobilize its large commercial network, global logistics platform and logistics and multimodal solutions in sea and land transport.

As part of the partnership, CMA CGM will become a new reference shareholder in Air France-KLM, with the intention to take up to 9 percent of Air France-KLM’s share capital for a period consistent with the implementation of the strategic commercial partnership.

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Air France-KLM’s main shareholders will support a resolution for the appointment of one board member representing CMA CGM at the next shareholders’ meeting on May 24. Such appointment, if approved by the shareholders’ meeting, would be subject to the completion of CMA CGM’s investment.

“I am very pleased with this strategic partnership with Air France-KLM,” Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said. “It allows us to significantly accelerate the development of our air division, CMA CGM Air Cargo, which was created just over a year ago, and to position our two companies among the world’s leading players in air freight.”

Saadé said the agreement is fully in line with CMA CGM’s strategy and its ambition to become a leader in integrated logistics, and that through its stake in the company, Air France-KLM will be able to count on CMA CGM to support its future development.

“This strategic partnership leverages the complementary skills, expertise and activities of Air France-KLM and CMA CGM,” Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith said. “It is a landmark step which will significantly strengthen and expand the group’s position in the air cargo industry. I am also extremely pleased that this commercial partnership with CMA CGM has resulted in their decision to invest directly in the Air France-KLM Group, demonstrating a strong testimony of their belief in the future success of our group.”

With this industrial cooperation, the CMA CGM Group is moving forward with its plan to develop and provide end-to-end shipping and logistics solutions in order to support its customers’ supply chains. The company in the last three years acquired CEVA Logistics, Ingram Micro’s Commerce & Lifecycle Services, Colis Privé and GEFCO.

In March 2021, CMA CGM Air Cargo, a whole new operational and commercial arm specialized in air freight, was formed. The air cargo division has been expanding rapidly, thanks in particular to the entry into service of several full-freighter aircraft, and orders for new aircraft that will significantly boost the capacity in the months and years to come.

The CMA CGM Group is present in 160 countries through its network of more than 400 offices and 750 warehouses. With its subsidiary CEVA Logistics, which transports 400,000 tons of air freight and 2.8 million tons of land freight each year, and CMA CGM Air Cargo, the CMA CGM Group’s vast logistics network offers a range of new shipping, land, air and logistics solutions.

Air France-KLM has teams present in 116 stations covering a total network of 390 handling stations spread over all continents, making its commercial network one of the strongest in the airfreight industry. Air France-KLM has a long-standing experience and know-how in the field of specialized cargo and has developed one of the most advanced digital service solutions in the air freight industry.