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CMA CGM Logistics to set up unit in Jamaica

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A CMA CGM vessel docked in Kingston.
A CMA CGM cargo ship.

The logistics arm of shipping company CMA CGM plans to hire around 20 local staff for a unit in Jamaica.

The company secured an empty warehouse and will now begin hiring staff and renting equipment, but is signaling it will begin as a small operation.

"We need a lot of things, but it will not be in high quantities in the beginning. I will not need 25 forklifts, but maybe in a year's time, if we can attract an international company - just one or two - then volume would be huge," said Nicholas Tellier, deputy managing director at CMA CGM Logistics.

"We will start from an empty warehouse. There is nothing inside. In the coming weeks, we are going to make a checklist of what to do to start the operations - whether it will be 10 people or 20 people," he said on Friday following a speech delivered at the Talking Exports Breakfast Series hosted by Jamaica Exporters Association.


Separate form shipping line


The logistics unit operates separately from the shipping line and is present in 60 countries. It started some 12 years ago with the purpose of growing a freight forwarding business to augment CMA CGM's shipping line business.

However, six years ago, the logistics company shifted to include freight forwarding utilising competing shipping lines.

Tellier explained that currently roughly half of its orders go through competing shipping lines in a bid to grow the logistics company and also the shipping line.

CMA CGM and Terminal Link, through Kingston Freeport Limited, recently took charge of the Kingston port under a 30-year concession agreement with the Port Authority of Jamaica.

The Jamaica logistic unit is yet to land a customer.

"I have everything to start, except the first customer," said Tellier.

"The first one is always the most difficult one, of course, because they always ask 'show me what you have done', and we have nothing to show as yet, but when we have the first one, it will act like a snowball and attract everybody."

His speech included a gentle plea to the exporters and business operators to let him create solutions for their operations.

CMA CGM is one of the major shipping lines serving the port of Kingston. Its engagement with Jamaica deepened this year when Kingston Container Terminal was divested to Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited under a 30-year concession agreement with the Port Authority of Jamaica. Kingston Freeport is a local company established by the Terminal Link/CMA CGM consortium.

"Logistics hub has been on the agenda for a long time. Not so much has happened so far, but now something is happening ... I really believe in Kingston and this project. If not, then I would be here for three times in 10 months if it was not the case," Tellier said.