Extended networks are key to the CMA CGM AFKLMP partnership

The need to accommodate the increasingly global business operations of freight forwarder customers was a key driver for the recently launched partnership between CMA CGM Air Cargo and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP).

The merger, which was first announced in May 2022 and has a term of ten years, will see the two airlines jointly operate the full cargo aircraft capacity of their respective airlines, initially including CMA CGM’s six cargo aircraft and AFKLMP’s six cargo aircraft.

The commercial partnership also includes Air France-KLM’s belly aircraft capacity, including more than 160 long-haul aircraft.

The two have also aligned systems, network strategies, revenue management, distribution and customer approach – online both use the same myCargo platform developed by the Franco-Dutch airline group.

When asked about the key benefit of the partnership, both airlines highlighted the expanded networks they can offer, stating that this meets the need to offer global solutions.

Guillaume Lathelize, CEO of CMA CGM Air Cargo, said: “Being a young airline, working with an established airline and having access to a global network of services makes our product offering even more relevant.”

“We are part of a large shipping container group (CMA CGM), which also has a large logistics group under the CEVA brand. Our goal is to also become a relevant brand in the air freight industry.

“We found that partnering with AF KLM would accelerate the learning curve on the way to becoming a global player. The joint product we offer today is much more relevant to our group’s customers than what we could do alone.”

Adriaan Den Heijer, Executive Vice President Cargo at AFKLMP added: “In order to be the player we want to be from our two hubs (Paris CDG and Schiphol), it is important that we can offer a global network.”

“For CMA CGM Air Cargo it is an opportunity to accelerate their business model and for us we now have full cargo capacity to China and India on top of what we already have to Africa, South America and the USA. It complements our belly setup and makes us more relevant to our customers.”

Den Heijer added that the ongoing consolidation in the freight forwarding market means that customers are becoming more global and airlines have to reflect this trend with the services they offer.

“There are customers who are looking for partners who can offer solutions to all of their supply chain challenges,” added Lathelize. “And we as a group are now positioned to meet these challenges and offer solutions combining our sea and air resources in collaboration with AF KLM.”

Den Heijer also said that CMA CGM’s investment in a 9 per cent stake in Air France KLM Group shows the new entrant’s commitment to the partnership.

The two also pointed to the potential to develop sea-to-air or air-to-sea operations through CMA CGM’s presence in the container shipping market.

A potential area for controversy is CMA CGM Group’s stake in trucking company CEVA Logistics, which will become one of the top five buyers of air freight capacity after the group reached an agreement to buy Bolloré Logistics.

The two insisted that CEVA be treated like any other carrier.

“We make sure that we have very good boundaries in terms of governance and organization. The cooperation with CMA CGM is an air freight cooperation. Point,” said Den Heijer.

“The moment that happens (CEVA gains an advantage), we’re out of the game.”

He added, “There are legal thresholds, but there are also ethical and business thresholds that ensure that.” And most customers recognize that. But of course we have questions about that, and that’s logical.”

Lathelize pointed out that CMA CGM Group has operated its CEVA business and its container shipping business separately for the past five years and there is no question of any cooperation between the two.

“It is recognized in the shipping industry that CEVA operates on an equal footing with our shipping business.

“It’s a bit newer in the air freight industry as we weren’t an air freight company before, but we have set all the necessary boundaries to ensure our trucking customers feel comfortable working with us.”

Both also said that there are increasing hybrid structures in the broader logistics supply chain market – partnerships between airlines and carriers, shipping groups that own carrier operations and airlines – and that the industry has therefore become increasingly accustomed to this type of configuration.

Related Articles

Back to top button