BELEAGUERED French shipping giant CMA CGM plans to join its rivals Hamburg Süd, Maersk Line, Log-In and Mediterranean Shipping Co in the Brazilian cabotage business by the middle of this year.
CMA CGM’s Brazilian subsidiary has agreed to take an ageing Brazilian-flag vessel from Di Gregório Navegação on charter to allow it to qualify for strict Brazilian flag protection rules governing domestic cabotage services.
DG Colombia is being refitted by Di Gregório after a lengthy spell of inactivity and is fixed on a long-term charter agreement to CMA CGM do Brasil, allowing the group to begin operations as early as June.
CMA CGM do Brasil managing director Nelson Carlini told Lloyd’s List that the ship would be ready for operation within 90 days.
With a licence to operate in the cabotage trades, CMA CGM could also charter in bareboat tonnage from elsewhere as it works on the prospect of building new vessels in Brazilian shipyards.
CMA CGM has the option of adding another two newer vessels on bareboat charter under Brazil’s cabotage rules to create a fleet capable of offering bi-weekly services between Manaus and Santos. The vessels will have capacity of around 1,100 teu.
Mr Carlini received clearance at the end of October from CMA CGM’s Marseilles head office to forge ahead with a cabotage business.
Entering the cabotage trade has been one of the long-term objectives of Mr Carlini — who was previously head of Vale’s former coastal shipping business, Docenave — since he took over the task of converting Brazil into one of the key markets for CMA CGM.
After six years at the helm of CMA CGM’s expansion in Brazil, Mr Carlini appears to have finally achieved his ambition, but he will not be involved in developing the business after it was revealed that he is to be replaced as part of a broad shake-up of CMA CGM’s management.
Mr Carlini is leaving to pursue private interests in the air cargo business and will be replaced in June by Marc Bourdon, who currently heads up CMA CGM’s business in India.
Mr Bourdon will be charged with the task of navigating the group into what are increasingly crowded Brazilian cabotage waters.
Triunfo became the latest party to enter the cabotage trades with the acquisition of the multi-purpose Norsul Atlantico from Companhia Norsual de Navegação last year.
Triunfo is understood to have a tie-up with Mediterranean Shipping Co, with which it has joint investments in port infrastructure in Navegantes.
Brazil’s cabotage business accounts for up to 600,000 teu of business a year. It has been growing rapidly as it eats into the dominance of the truck in moving containers between Brazil’s industrial heartland in the southeast of the country and the region’s second largest free trade zone in Manaus.
Rainbow Nelson | LLOYD’S LIST