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French container shipping group CMA CGM and IBM have extended their partnership by another five-years, during which time IBM will provide industry-specific expertise in new technologies, such as cloud computing and analytics.

The partnership will also support CMA CGM’s growth by delivering information technology services that will help the box carrier reduce costs. Under the deal, IT teams from both companies will be combined into a new unit called CMA Systems, which will have an equally represented governance structure.

CMA CGM chairman and chief executive officer Jacques Saade said innovative technologies from IBM will help the company to further improve its customer service, which is one of its key competitive strengths.

“The creation of this new partnership with a global market leader is strategic for the group. This partnership will enable us to offer our customers innovative, purpose-designed IT solutions, while improving our cost discipline,” Saade said.

CMA CGM expects to generate substantial savings in 2012, with the help of new services and technologies developed by CMA Systems, along with its unified organization. IBM France president Alain Benichou said the new collaboration will allow the company to support CMA CGM in driving efficiencies and increasing innovation with new technologies, such as cloud and analytics.

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By GlobalData

CMA CGM, which currently operates a fleet of 390 vessels and serves more than 400 ports worldwide, controls the entire logistics chain, from inland waterway transport to port facilities and on-land logistics.

The French containership operator reported a 72% drop in profits to $237m for the first six months of 2011, compared with $849 reported during the corresponding period of 2010 as high oil prices pushed up fuel costs. CMA CGM recorded revenues of $7.3bn for the first half (H1) of 2011, an increase of 8% compared with $6.77bn for the previous period.

The company carried 4.8 million teu during H1 2011, an increase of 9.1% on the 4.41 million teu it handled in H1 2010. In 2006, both the companies formed 50-50 joint venture to provide CMA CGM with enhanced core information technology systems.

Image: CMA CGM currently operates a fleet of 390 vessels and serves more than 400 ports worldwide. Photo: Simon Greter.