ContainersEuropePorts and Logistics


Rodolphe Saadé has helped out his friend Emanuel Macron ahead of Sunday’s presidential election in France.

The CMA CGM chairman has moved to acquire nearly 100% of GEFCO, an automotive logistics firm whose future had become clouded with uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

France-headquartered GEFCO was 75% controlled by state-run Russian Railways, an entity that was quickly sanctioned five weeks ago as war got underway in eastern Europe. Founded in 1949 as Les Groupages Express de Franche-Comté (GEFCO), Russian Railways came onboard as majority shareholder 10 years ago.

GEFCO today is the number one European leader in finished vehicle logistics, and describes itself on its website as a top 10 global partner in multimodal supply chain solutions. It has a network spanning 47 countries and employs around 11,500 staff around the world – with more than 2,500 of them in France.

The acquisition announced today, thought to be worth around $488m, has been submitted to competition authorities for approval. However, as part of a special procedure, the European Commission has authorised CMA CGM to acquire the capital of GEFCO immediately, pending the final approval that will take place in the coming months.

“The acquisition will strengthen the range of logistics services that CEVA Logistics, CMA CGM’s logistics subsidiary, provides to its customers, especially in France and the rest of Europe,” rapidly diversifying CMA CGM stated in a release. The Marseille-headquartered liner posted a record $18bn profit last year. The year prior, in May of 2020, CMA CGM secured a state loan guarantee linked to the early onset of the coronavirus crisis, with the Macron administration backing a €1.05bn ($1.14bn) loan from BNP Paribas, HSBC France and Société Générale.

Saadé, the chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, commented: “The acquisition of GEFCO represents a further step in our development strategy and strengthens our position as a global player in transport and logistics. With GEFCO, our subsidiary CEVA will become the world leader in automotive logistics, having recently enhanced its capabilities in e-commerce logistics with the acquisition of Ingram Micro CLS. We are creating a French leader to serve our customers around the world.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Good news, but “The acquisition announced today, thought to be worth around $488m”. Who gets the cash? Not Putin’s crowd obviously, but who?

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