French CMA CGM acquires one of the largest port terminals in the United States

The CMA CGM container ship Jules Verne, left, and other vessels in the queues seen from the Port of Los Angeles, October 18, 2021. AP - Damian Dovarganes

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2 min

The French maritime carrier CMA CGM is entering fully into the North American market.

The shipowner announced on Wednesday that he had bought a terminal in the port of Los Angeles for nearly 2 billion euros.

A strategic acquisition at a time when port congestion is creating shortages around the world and particularly in the United States. 

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The Fenix ​​Marine Services (FMS) is the third largest port terminal in Los Angeles.

One of the most important in North America.

This is a “key infrastructure” recalls the CEO of the Rodolphe Saadé group.

It should strengthen the position and support the growth of CMA CGM. 

Already a 10% shareholder in the American terminal, the group will acquire the remaining 90% to become the sole owner.

According to CMA CGM, the group will spend $ 1.8 billion for the acquisition of the terminal. 

The

group

took advantage of the explosion in shipping costs boosted by household consumption during the pandemic, it posted a net profit of nearly 3.5 billion dollars in the second quarter of this year.

As one expert puts

 it,

"

the terminals must be modernized and the advantage is that at the moment there is cash to invest

 ". 

The terminal has a strategic location in deep water and a container storage space of 118 hectares that the group wishes to expand.

At the start of 2022, it is due to welcome the first CMA CGM ships powered by liquefied natural gas, which will be deployed between Asia and the United States.

FMS benefits from a concession until 2043.

Modernize American ports

Because the main strategy of the shipowners is to have good positions in the ports.

Those from California, Long Beach and Los Angeles represent 40% of total US imports.

The American market is one of the leaders in transpacific exchanges. 

But these ports have one big drawback: they are too small.

This has been obvious for several months with huge

logistical blockages

.

The traffic jams of container ships in front of the ports have not yet been resolved.

One of CMA CGM's ambitions could be to modernize and upgrade American ports which have stagnated a bit over the past 20 years. 

See also: United States: Joe Biden insists on the need to restore his country's supply chains

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