Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Container Shipping Line Thinking is Out of Ze Box

Start Up Digital Incubator Created in Marseille
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – Digitalisation is of course a major buzzword in the freight and logistics industry at the moment and now the world's third largest container shipping line, CMA CGM, has taken an innovative and radical step to ensure it keeps up with the game by creating 'Ze Box', a 'start up, digital incubator' with the concept of centralising new talent in the group's home city and making digitalisation one of the pillars of the group's development.

Ze Box is launched in cooperation with partners the Aix-Marseilles University and the Aix-Marseille Provence Métropole, with the idea of nurturing digital talent using the benefit of CMA CGM’s expertise and from the skills of associated researchers and PhD students. By creating this, its first international start up incubator, CMA CGM says it is confirming its leading role in the economic development of the region by boosting the emergence of a digital ecosystem to help create disruptive and innovative products and services.

Located in Le Castel building, Ze Box will cover a surface of 800 m2 and will house, starting in June 2018, a dozen start ups coming from all around the world to develop their potential and will be headed by Matthieu Somekh, previously Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ecole Polytechnique. A call for applications will be launched shortly. Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, observed:

”With Ze Box, CMA CGM is accelerating its digital strategy and is developing the means to become the transportation industry’s leader in innovation. By combining our expertise with the one of the start ups that will be hosted within Ze Box, we will develop global innovations that create value for our customers and for CMA CGM. Thanks to Ze Box, our ambition is to attract to France the best start ups from all around the world. Its creation in Marseilles also shows our strong will to contribute to the economic development of this territory. "

The move is the latest in a series of strategies the French box carrier has launched over the past few months which include:

  • the appointment of a worldwide team of Chief Digital Officers
  • the creation of CMA CGM Ventures, the corporate venture structure dedicated to investments in innovative technologies. Among recent investments: Nyshex, the first digital marketplace for ocean freight contracts, or e-dray, a collaborative platform enabling hauliers to limit port congestion
  • support for Le Carburateur, a startup incubator for the northern districts of Marseilles, with financial support awarded to 5 businesses related to the sea, transport and logistics sectors
  • partnerships with Aix-Marseille French Tech, a key player in digital innovation, and The Camp, an innovative campus bringing together large companies, start ups, teachers and researchers
  • a partnership with Infosys, a global IT leader, to accelerate the transformation of its information system
  • new partnerships with major ebusiness companies like Alibaba