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Maritime transport: the CMA-CGM group flies to the rescue of Britanny Ferries


The CMA-CGM Marco Polo passes under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on May 20, 2021 in New York (United States). (TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

Based in Marseille, CMA-CGM, the world’s third largest container ship operator, will support Britanny Ferries, the shipping company specializing in passenger traffic between France and the United Kingdom. CMA will provide 25 million euros in new money to Brittany Ferries through share purchases and an eight-year loan. A welcome breath of fresh air for the boss of Brittany Ferries, Jean-Marc Roué, who must face the consequences of the pandemic on the activity of his company.

In 2019, Brittany Ferries sold two and a half million tickets. The exit of the United Kingdom from Europe and the pandemic increased ticket sales to 530,000 in fiscal year 2020-2021, practically a quarter of normal sales. The two cumulative events cost the Breton SME 200 million euros.

The two companies have different destinies, but they can come together. On the one hand, CMA-CGM is bouncing back with the recovery in freight traffic around the world – in the second quarter alone, its turnover soared by nearly 80% to 10.5 billion dollars. euros – and on the other hand, Britanny Ferries is struggling to recover from the drop in passenger traffic with the pandemic.

The development of synergies is obvious: the Marseille shipowner sees the opportunity to offer its customers an additional possibility of transporting the goods in the holds of ships which simultaneously take on passengers. The opportunity for Britanny Ferries to take advantage of the logistics of CMA-CGM, to train the staff together … all this at a time when CMA is preparing clean maritime transport with a new fleet of boats running on liquefied natural gas. An alliance of reason for a new adventure.

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