MSC and CMA CGM: rival parents, but offspring ‘strategic partners’ in Africa

MSC and CMA CGM: rival parents, but offspring ‘strategic partners’ in Africa

MSC’s Є5.7bn purchase last year of Bolloré Africa Logistics – since re-named Africa Global Logistics (AGL) – saw the the world’s biggest ocean shipping line acquire over 250 logistics and maritime agencies, 22 port and rail concessions, 66 dry ports and two river terminals across the African continent.

But what is far less well-known is that the buy also gives AGL a foothold in the air and ocean freight forwarding segment, ironically, through close co-operation with Bolloré Logistics, acquired by CMA CGM this year.

AGL marketing material seen by The Loadstar shows that thanks to a “strategic partnership”, the company has access to Bolloré Logistics’ international network, almost 80 locations spanning Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

This enables, for example, AGL to provide “international air freight shipping to and from Africa”, says its marketing. Fourteen African destinations – Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, DRC, Guinea, Gabon, Togo, Benin, Niger, Mauritania – are served via Paris-CDG with a ‘commitment to deliver’ in 24-72 hours.

“AGL is developing modern, purpose-built warehousing facilities in these countries for our air freight business. Aerohub – the first air freight warehouse in West Africa – is one such facility in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which opened its doors in 2019.”

It also serves as a GSA and/or GHA for Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa and Royal Air Maroc at several African airports.

A further indication of the strong links came in an interview with pan-African online news service Jeune Afrique this summer when AGL CEO Philippe Labonne was asked whether it would remain Bolloré Logistics’ agent in Africa.

He replied: “We will continue to work together, but will also open up to other networks that are looking to develop their businesses in Africa. We remain a multi-user company, capable of loading goods onto the ships of several companies, and working with different logistics partners to provide our customers with the best possible service.”

Neither AGL nor Bolloré Logistics were available to provide more information on the ‘strategic partnership’, or whether it was sustainable, given that MSC and CMA CGM are in rival camps.

By Stuart Todd
Source: Loadstar

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