CMA CGM expanding in Virginia, launching startup incubator

The CMA CGM Group this week announced it will grow its presence in Virginia, where the ocean container shipping company’s U.S. headquarters is located, and create more than 400 jobs. 

The company said it will invest a projected $36 million to expand operations in Hampton Roads, reinforce its headquarters in Norfolk and establish in Arlington County the American hub of ZEBOX, a startup incubator and accelerator initiated by Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group. 

“ZEBOX will assist innovative startups in developing new technologies in transportation, logistics, mobilities and industry 4.0,” Thursday’s announcement said. “ZEBOX will become an essential place where entrepreneurs from all over the world meet and work on building tomorrow’s innovations.”

Saadé said the expansion begins a “new chapter in the long-lasting history of the CMA CGM Group with the United States and Virginia.”

France-headquartered CMA CGM launched its U.S. operations in 1997 and opened the Norfolk headquarters in 2005. CMA CGM said it supports the U.S. economy and American customers in part through its more than 12,000 employees across the country and its presence at 19 U.S. ports with 34 services and 93 weekly calls.

“Given the success of our startup incubator and accelerator ZEBOX in France, we’re thrilled to launch ZEBOX America in Arlington County,” Saadé said. “This is an exciting challenge to enable the development of innovative, game-changing projects and technologies.”

The announcement did not elaborate on the types of jobs that would be created.

Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America and APL North America, noted that the company has “a long history in Virginia that began in 2002 when we opened our first office in Virginia Beach. We later increased our presence and moved into our Norfolk headquarters in 2005. We are very pleased to expand our roots again and continue working with the Port of Virginia. Together we provide great maritime services to customers both in Virginia and around the world in addition to offering reliable inland transport to America’s heartland utilizing the port’s excellent rail network.”

The French CMA CGM has long been a friend to the United States. In 2020 alone, CMA CGM donated 10,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving tables across the country. It also sent refrigerated containers with generators to Louisiana communities impacted by Hurricane Laura and firefighting equipment and storage containers to support relief efforts during California wildfires.

In late May, Alridge presented CMA CGM’s donation of 200,000 respirator face masks to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, who was tapped to serve as LA’s chief logistics officer to secure personal protective equipment to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

“We are proud to provide these masks as a gesture of our dedication to the great people of Los Angeles and to our partners at the Port of LA, who do an absolutely outstanding job working our vessels every week,” Aldridge said at the time. “As the largest ocean carrier today calling the Port of Los Angeles and our nation’s largest ocean carrier, we are absolutely committed to help the U.S. recover from the effects of this pandemic.”

French-American Thanksgiving: CMA CGM donates 10,000 turkeys

CMA CGM donates 200,000 face masks 

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.