- The CMA CGM Group just launched its first international technology startup incubator Ze Box in Marseilles, France, a company press release said Tuesday. According to the release, Ze Box will host "a dozen of startups coming from all around the world to develop their potential. A call for applications will be launched shortly."
- The purpose of the incubator is to further CMA CGM’s strategy to more quickly integrate digitization into the ocean shipping industry.
- Ze Box will collaborate with Aix-Marseilles University and the Aix-Marseille Provence Métropole, and will be led by the former Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ecole Polytechnique.
Sometimes the best way for established companies to acquire new technology is to buy it, or in the case of CMA CGM, cultivate it.
As the drive toward digitization in the freight transport industry grows more common, shipping lines are finding assorted ways to incorporate technology, such as signing on with online freight booking platforms like Agree Freight.
Now, CMA CGM has followed through on its promise to create a technology startup incubator, in order to support its drive to lead the industry in digitization.
Because the ocean shipping industry has been so slow to digitize, CMA CGM's move sets it apart from other shipping lines, and makes it more of a competitor to blockchain-exploring Maersk and potentially more attractive to prospective shippers.
"Among Rodolphe Saadé’s five strategic priorities, digitization is considered as a lever for growth, differentiation and performance," Kevin Speers, director of corporate communications at CMA CGM told Supply Chain Dive. "In a highly competitive environment, it is important to always stay ahead and innovate. That is why CMA CGM is always innovating or investing in innovative products, to become the industry’s leader in digital transformation."
The line is also seeking to revamp its IT systems, with other initiatives. Since Maersk had to replace its entire IT infrastructure after last year's Nyetya cyberattack, CMA CGM's decision to upgrade now shows it is serious about addressing inevitable cyber risks sooner rather than later.
"CMA CGM has partnered with several companies to accelerate its digital transformation," Speers said. "Our partnership with Infosys, a global IT leader, focuses on revolutionizing our IT systems. Alibaba offers a novel way for customers to book cargo, and our corporate venture structure has invested in NYSHEX and e-dray."