LA REUNION: CMA CGM is to establish a transhipment hub on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean within the next 18 months.
The announcement was made during a tour of the port by French president Francois Hollande who said he wanted to make the facility a "global hub" as it is already the largest port in France's overseas territories.
With plans to extend the length of the container terminal by 160 metres and the port dredged to a depth of 16 metres, Hollande (next to flag) said it would allow the handling of 6-8,000 TEU vessels rather than the maximum 4,000 TEU-capacity at present. "Everything must be done to attract investors," he added.
In April 2012, the French Development Agency signed an €11 million financing agreement with the Reunion Chamber of Commerce & Industry to extend and deepen the port facilities.
With 86 percent of the port's traffic based on imports, one aim of the investment is to better compete on transhipment traffic with port Louis in Mauritius, 226 kilometres to the north-east. The funding is also intended to promote the integration of Reunion in international and regional trade by reducing waiting times for ships.
CMA CGM vice chairman Rodolphe Saadé commented: "The memorandum of understanding signed today in the presence of the president of the French Republic François Hollande will play an active part in the economic growth of the Reunion Island, and will reinforce its commercial ties not only with the surrounding islands, but also with Europe, Africa and Asia. Reunion Island is located at the maritime crossroads. This will be truer than ever tomorrow with the CMA CGM project. "
Saadé said the development will give the port "a new dimension" because of its strategic position where shipping lanes meet between Europe, Asia and Africa as well as provide a key element in CMA CGM development of its Africa trades. "With this new hub, the island will benefit from broader world-wide supply opportunities that will renew its shipping focus," he added.
In a related announcement, CMA CGM is expanding its current "ANZEX" / "NZN" capacity agreement with OOCL with the addition of China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and Pacific International Lines (PIL) in the North East Asia, Australia and New Zealand trades from Shanghai in early November.
The new weekly service will operate with seven 4,250 TEU vessels - three from CMA CGM, two from OOCL and one each from CSCL and PIL.