CMA CGM accelerates global rail freight integration
French container transport and shipping firm CMA CGM integrated its rail freight and ocean forwarding services, offering new onward connections in Brazil and Zimbabwe last month. In Brazil, the company links the port of Santos with Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. In Zimbabwe, the company offers a rail link between Harare, the country’s capital and Maputo.
With disruption affecting supply chains across the globe, many large forwarders are now looking to adjust their operating models, increasing multimodal capacity and integrating rail freight operations. CMA CGM is one of them.
“To accompany our customers’ needs, CMA CGM provides three weekly services, SEAS, SEAS 2 and SAFRAN, connecting Asia and Europe to/from Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais with rail ramp delivery respectively in 4 days and 7 days. Should last mile services be required, the intermodal transit time is within one day,” a spokesperson for CMA CGM explained.
The new rail links will offer daily departures, with CMA CGM highlighting the ‘short and reliable transit time’ for goods. The firm estimates total transit time to Rio de Janeiro of 37 days from Shanghai, 40 from Qingdao, 19 from Antwerp, and 21 from Hamburg and transit from Mina Gerais to Shanghai of 38 days, 41 to Qingdao, 30 to Antwerp, 28 to Hamburg.
Following the announcement of its new Brazilian combined rail-sea services, the firm also launched a new dedicated service from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Complementing existing services via Beira and Durban, this new link will operate with a dedicated block-train shuttle, offering a weekly capacity of 108 TEU. The service will run between Harare and Maputo and offer an intermodal transit time of five days for Harare Ramp and six days for Harare Door.
“The gain combined on maritime-rail transit time is 15 days from Asia in connection with Mozex service,” a spokesperson for the firm commented. “Harare is reached from Shanghai in 31 days, Yantian in 30 days, Qingdao in 35 days, Busan in 36 days. Export cargo from Harare Ramp bound for Shanghai in 48 days, Yantian 42 days.”
The new services have been launched as part of CMA CGM’s #SwitchToRail initiative, which has seen the firm focus on strengthening the integration of rail links. In April, CMA CGM announced the acquisition of French logistics provider Gefco, buying out joint owners Russian Railways and French-Italian automaker Stellantis.
“The acquisition of GEFCO represents a further step in our development strategy and strengthens our position as a global player in transport and logistics,” Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of the CMA CGM Group, commented. “We are creating a French leader to serve our customers worldwide.”
Building on these global aspirations, the shipping line also recently announced plans to expand its “digital forwarding system” across inland container depots in India, helping to digitalise rail forwarding processes and encourage more freight to move to rail.
“This solution will be a further step in expanding our ease of doing business facilitation for our clientele and in helping to reduce paper trails in our business processes,” a spokesperson for CMA CGM India explained. “To ensure minimal impact on daily operations, we will be ensuring a parallel regime in the first two weeks of implementation and thereafter progressively move towards full adoption of the digital forwarding note.”
The digital forwarding note will be available via the Odex platform and available for all registered OdeX users with the solution implemented across all North Indian ICDs in a phased manner, starting with ICD Tughlakhabad (TKD) and ICD Dadri.