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HomeLeaders and VisionariesLeaders and Visionaries in Shipping – Jacques Saadé

Leaders and Visionaries in Shipping – Jacques Saadé

In any industry, there are Leaders and Visionaries who innovate, design, create and shape it, benefiting everyone in the chain..

The Maritime, Shipping, Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain industries are no exception..

Through a series of articles, Shipping and Freight Resource would like to pay tribute to Leaders and Visionaries who shaped the modern day shipping industry..

In this article we feature Mr.Jacques Saadé one of the Leaders and Visionaries who shaped the modern day shipping industry..


Who is Jacques Saadé and why is he a leader and visionary..??


CMA CGM Shipping and Freight Resource

CMA CGM Group, a GIANT in the world of container shipping, is active in more than 160 countries operating 494 vessels serving over 420 of the world’s 521 commercial ports supported by a vast network of over 775 own and agent offices employing more than 30,000 employees worldwide..

CMA CGM Group also owns a portfolio of brands and subsidiaries that complement one another and offers strong regional expertise such as

  • APL, based in Singapore
  • ANL, in Oceania
  • CNC, in the Intra-Asia market
  • MacAndrews, in Europe
  • Comanav, in North Africa
  • CMA Ships, for vessel fleet and crew management (maintenance, supplies, shipbuilding projects, etc.);
  • CMA Terminals & Terminal Link, for terminal construction, acquisition, and operation around the world;
  • CMA CGM LOG, for integrated global logistics solutions;
  • Intermodal transport solutions around the world.

These achievements and the success of the group has been attributed to the vision, leadership and entrepreneurial touch of Jacques Saadé, Founder Chairman of the CMA CGM Group..

Under his leadership, CMA CGM grew to become the 3rd largest container shipping line in the world today with some impressive numbers as of 2018 :

  • 18.95 Million TEUs transported
  • USD21.1 Billion in revenues
  • 494 Vessel fleet
  • 2.53M Fleet’s slot capacity in TEUs
  • 755 Offices worldwide
  • 420 Ports of call in 160 countries
  • 200+ Shipping services
  • 30,000+ Employees worldwide

On Sunday the 24th of June 2018, this doyen of the industry passed away in Marseilles at the age of 81, marking the end of an era in the container shipping industry..


Here is a brief history of Mr.Jacques Saadé..

Jacques Saadé - Shipping and Freight ResourceJacques R. Saadé dedicated his life to CMA CGM. An extraordinary visionary and entrepreneur, he made the Group into a world leader in the maritime transport of containers, developing the company in more than 160 countries, while maintaining the family dimension with its values.

After having left Lebanon to protect his family for Civil War, Jacques R Saadé founded the Compagnie Maritime d’Affretement (CMA) 40 years ago, on 13 September 1978, anticipating major developments in world trade and convinced that the container would have a determining role in world maritime transport.

He began with 4 employees, a single ship and only one maritime service between Marseilles and Beirut. Then began the company’s extraordinary development.

In 1983, he sent his first ships beyond the Mediterranean and had them cross the Suez Canal. In 1986 he launched a service linking North Europe to Asia. In 1992 he opened CMA’s first office in Shanghai, persuaded that China would become the world’s factory.

He combined vigorous internal growth with strategic acquisitions allowing him to strengthen the company’s presence on key markets : CGM in 1996, ANL in 1998 and Delmas in 2005. In 2006, the company became the third largest container shipping company in the world.

With strong ties to the city of Marseilles, where the Group was founded, Jacques R. Saadé built the CMA CGM Tower in 2006, the new headquarters of the Group and now a symbol of the city of Marseilles.

He was always attentive to strengthening the ties between France and Lebanon.

Jacques R. Saadé was a recognized industry leader with a worldwide reputation. In 2013 he received one of the highest decorations of the City of Hamburg, the Admiralitäts-Portugaleser. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from the American University in Lebanon, as well as Lebanon’s National Order of the Cedar.

In 2014 Jacques R. Saadé received an award from the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) for encouraging the economic development and conveying a positive image of the Mediterranean Basin, as well as promoting peace and tolerance worldwide.

In 2015, he is conferred the title of Commander of the French Legion of Honor by the President of France. The following year he was named Commander of the Ordre National du Mérite Maritime.

On 7 February 2017, on his 80th birthday, Jacques R. Saadé, appointed Rodolphe Saadé to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group and then appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors on the 24th of November, the same year.

In accordance with Mr Jacques R. Saadé’s wishes, a funeral ceremony will be held in Marseilles at the La Major Cathedral this Friday, June 29th at 11:00AM.

Source : CMA CGM

Shipping and Freight Resource conveys its sincere condolences to the family and the CMA CGM group while saluting Mr.Jacques R. Saadé as one of the visionary leaders who shaped the modern day shipping and freight industry..

May his soul rest in eternal peace..

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  1. Myself joined CMA in 1987 and was with them till 2008. Have seen how the company under the command-ship of Mr. Saade grown to become the 3rd biggest container company in the world. When ever we visit CMA CGM head office in Marseille, got the luck to have a lunch or dinner with the great leader. He was a shipping wizard and i have not seen any one with such an indepth knowledge on the subject. A real loss to the shipping fraternity .


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