Prime Minister Li Keqiang will lead a ministerial delegation to French shipping giant CMA CGM Group’s iconic Marseilles HQ tomorrow and conclude two major economic agreements.
Under the first, Chinese shipyards will deliver three flagship 18,000 teu container vessels to CMA CGM during the latter part of 2015. They will be the company’s largest vessels – and the largest to have been built by Chinese yards.
“They will be named after great explorers,” a CMA CGM spokesman stated. “One of them will be named CMA CGM Zheng He, in recognition of the famous Chinese explorer.”
The second agreement will see premier Li Keqiang and French foreign affairs minister Laurent Fabius confirm CMA CGM’s status in China and its recognition as a French industry flagship in the country.
Apart from minister Fabius and French foreign trade minister Matthias Fekl, premier Li Keqiang will be accompanied by Chinese foreign affairs minister Yi Wang; reform and development commission minister Shaoshi Xu; trade minister Hucheng Gao; Chinese ambassador in France Jun Zhai; and Consul General Mrs Jinsong Yu.
“To mark the occasion, the 9,658 teu CMA CGM Orfeo, a vessel that symbolises the commercial relations between France and China will exceptionally berth in Marseilles during the visit,” CMA CGM stated. “To welcome Prime Minister Li Keqiang it will be decorated in the Chinese colours.”
CMA CGM Orfeo normally calls at the ports of Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Chiwan, Klang, Malta, Valencia, Barcelona, Fos sur Mer, Salalah, and Xiamen.
CMA CGM opened its first China office in Shanghai in 1992 and has since built strong relationships with the country, from commercial agreements to the construction and delivery of containers and vessels. Today, of the 20,000 people CMA CGM employs worldwide, 1,700 work in 74 offices throughout China. The Group has 71 liner services calling at 13 Chinese ports 248 times a week – which equates to a CMA CGM vessel arriving every three hours.
CMA CGM founder, chairman and CEO Jacques Saadé called the visit, “A milestone in our Group’s history. It is a great recognition of the unique links our Group has developed with China, a strategic country in the Group’s development history.
“We are proud of the honour and of the confidence that this visit demonstrates.”