Jun 1, 2023 | Maritime business news

CMA CGM Group has finalised the acquisition of La Méridionale, a mixed-use freight and passenger shipping company established in Marseille in 1931, which runs sevices between mainland France and Corsica with four ro-pax vessels.

La Méridionale currently runs up to 13 weekly crossings between Marseille, Porto Vecchio and Ajaccio, plus connections between Marseille and Morocco. The acquisition of La Méridionale complements the new division of the CMA CGM Group dedicated to specialised shipping operations. This division, which reflects CMA CGM’s desire to continue innovating in the shipping sector, encompasses a new car carrier business, a stake in Brittany Ferries, and investment in Neoline, a Nantes-based company developing the first sail-powered ro-ro vessel, and now La Méridionale. With this new division, which aims to transport cargo and passengers more sustainably, CMA CGM intends to strengthen its overall decarbonisation efforts. 

The vision for La Méridionale is to provide one of the first ‘green corridors’ in the Mediterranean. To that end, the CMA CGM Group will invest in modernising the shipping company’s fleet to improve energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact. The Group intends to place an order for two new LNG-powered vessels. These ships will be able to run on methanol and deliver some of the best environmental performances in the sector. They will also be able to carry out operations with zero CO2 emissions during port calls and are set to replace the oldest vessels on services between Corsica and Marseille, contributing to the preservation of the environment between the island and the mainland. 

CMA CGM Group will seek to maintain the expertise and commitment of about 600 La Méridionale employees. Since La Méridionale boasts one of the largest contingents of French seafarers operating under the French flag (first register), it needs to remain at the vanguard of efforts to train crew in France. To achieve this goal, CMA CGM has committed to form a partnership with the Lycée Maritime et Aquacole high school in Bastia, thereby offering young seafarers in Corsica the opportunity to access a job upon completing their studies and gain promotion into officer roles.

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