After five years of pairing through a joint subsidiary, CMA CGM Group and IBM today announced a new strategic partnership to cover the next five years.
Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will provide expertise deploying major IT applications such as cloud computing and designing new customer-centric tools to reduce the ocean carrier’s costs and accelerate growth.
The IT department on both sides will merge into a new subsidiary named CMA Systems. It previously was called CMA CGM SYSTeMS. The companies said the joint venture will have governance from both companies but that employees will ultimately report to Jacques R. Saadé, chairman and chief executive officer of CMA CGM.
The subsidiary aims to develop new technology and service offerings specifically for CMA CGM, but these systems are likely transferable to customers directly and indirectly down the road.
IBM brings decades of IT and business-process management expertise to the venture. The idea behind outsourcing its IT department, while still retaining control, is to give CMA CGM more flexible and responsive systems to support fast-changing industry requirements rather than having to maintain huge legacy IT systems on its own. The collaboration allows it to harness IBM’s worldwide infrastructure and translate specific CMA CMG requirements into standardized tools.
IBM began providing hosted IT services to ocean carriers after the late-2004 purchase of Maersk Data, the information technology arm of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group. Maersk, in turn, outsourced its IT management to IBM. In 2009, Maersk extended its agreement with IBM through 2014.
IBM also handles IT for Safmarine, a Maersk subsidiary.
CMA CGM is the world’s third largest container shipping company, operating a fleet of 390 vessels and serving more than 400 ports around the world. In 2010, it carried more than 9 million TEUs. - Geoff Whiting
and Eric Kulisch