- CMA CGM announced last week it would launch a new startup incubator in Marseilles, hoping to attract innovative talent from around the world.
- The initiative builds on various CMA CGM initiatives designed to leverage digital innovation through partnerships with academia, startups as well as established IT players like Infosys.
- CEO Rodolphe Saadé added the incubator also complements projects initiated by CMA CGM Ventures, the line's corporate venture fund, and will help boost the region's economy.
Digitization in the freight transport industry is inevitable, and investment in technology savvy startups is a gateway for formerly traditional transporters.
The world's third-largest shipping line has recently shown it is willing to partner with digital natives offering innovative solutions. The company was one of the four major shipping lines to invest in the New York Shipping Exchange, an ocean freight contracting startup. CMA CGM also partnered with Alibaba to boost its visibility to small and medium enterprises in China, showing its deals are not limited to startups.
Yet, beyond those two deals, opportunities abound for traditional carriers to boost customer service with digital tools.
Since the process of information integration within digitization involves all participants, the benefits of transparency can be applied to each step in the supply chain: pricing, contents of containers, tracking products' location en route, among others. Online customs processing, too, is emerging as a popular tool.
Given all the different use cases, it would be unfeasible for a single company's R&D team to develop all the new tools. That's why established companies worldwide, like D.B. Schenker or UPS, are targeting startups to facilitate their expansion and growth.
In Saadé's words, adapting to a "digital ecosystem" is a "transformation," and startups — developed for specific business cases through an incubator — can help accelerate the process.