The ocean cargo transportation provider CMA CGM Group will buy a stake in the air freight operator Air France-KLM as part of a 10-year “exclusive partnership” that will see the parties combine their complementary cargo networks, freighter capacity, and dedicated services, the companies said today.
Under terms of the deal, the partners will operate a combined air capacity that spans a current fleet of 10 full-freighter aircraft, with an additional combined 12 aircraft on order.
According to the partners, the move is intended to meet “customers' ever-increasing need for more integrated and resilient supply chains” by linking Air France-KLM’s capabilities in air freight and global cargo with CMA CGM’s commercial network, global logistics platform, and multimodal solutions in sea and land transport. Customers can access that combined capacity through a single corporate “voice,” since the partnership will leverage both partners’ respective global sales teams.
Specifically, the fleet includes four planes from CMA CGM Air Cargo (with orders for an additional eight aircraft, two of which may be operated by Air France-KLM in the future), and six planes owned by Air France-KLM Group based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (with outstanding orders for an additional four planes). The partnership also covers Air France-KLM’s belly aircraft capacity, including over 160 long-haul aircraft.
The new partnership will also be financial, with CMA CGM Group purchasing up to 9% of Air France-KLM’s stock shares and adding a board member to the Air France-KLM board of directors. The dollar value of that move was not specified.
"I am very pleased with this strategic partnership with Air France-KLM. 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,” Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said in a release. “This partnership is fully in line with CMA CGM's strategy and its ambition to become a leader in integrated logistics, for the benefit of its customers. Through our stake in the company, Air France-KLM will be able to count on us to support its future development.”
The deal shows CMA CGM’s latest move to “accelerate its strategic transformation into a global logistics leader,” the company said. That plan will have CMA CGM Group continue to develop end-to-end shipping and logistics solutions in order to support its customers’ supply chains. Previous steps toward that goal in the past three years include the acquisitions of CEVA Logistics, Ingram Micro’s Commerce & Lifecycle Services (CLS) e-commerce 3PL division, last-mile delivery provider Colis Privé, and automotive logistics service provider GEFCO.