Chris Dupin has an interesting article in the most recent American Shipper. CMA/CGM is trying to buy a majority interest in CEVA, the 3PL firm based in Switzerland. CEVA has been the target of another buyout effort by DSV, another 3PL. the time was certainly ripe for a consolidation in both the 3PL and the maritime transport space. This merger or combination is another attempt to deepen the reach of a maritime company into downstream supply chain management.
Like all of these mergers, we’ll have to see if it works out, and if the combination succeeds in improving results for shippers and receivers of goods. But for me it is a step in the right direction for a maritime company. If you try to tackle the downstream problems, you will start to understand how to improve and deliver more value. Whether a purchase is the best route is an open question, but it is certainly a good try.
The article also points out that CMA/CGM is innovating in other ways now. It has an in-house incubator, ZeBox, of small concerns that have ideas for improvements. It’s moving ahead on tracking containers and monitoring some of the risk conditions they face while traveling; and it is making some investment in bill of lading improvements through a blockchain technology project with BuyCo, another startup. These are certainly ways to get innovators thinking about the maritime supply chain problems. Who winds up with the rents is yet to be determined.