Both parties signed a letter of intent to “unlock synergies between the two companies in passenger and freight transport”.
CMA-CGM will invest EUR 25 million (USD 29,5M) into Brittany Ferries, which experienced a crisis as passenger shipping volumes dropped (due to the COVID crisis) and was close to bankruptcy.
In 2020, Brittany Ferries' revenues more than halved (to EUR 202,4M, compared to 2019’s EUR 469M), as passenger ferry traffic declined to ~750,000 (from 2019's 2,5M).
The investment includes EUR 10 million in “quasi-equity”, and will see a CMA-CGM representative on the ferry operator's Supervisory Board, while the agreement includes making cross-Channel freight capacity on Brittany Ferries ships available to the CMA-CGM.
CMA-CGM is due to help Brittany Ferries reorient its operations to unaccompanied RoRo (trailer) traffic, which has seen high growth rates on cross-Channel service (UK-France) since the Coronavirus crisis and the departure of the UK's Brexit.
The two cargo carriers share an appetite for LNG as an alternative fuel. CMA-CGM led the way in the container shipping sector, while Brittany Ferries is set to introduce two LNG-powered / newbuild ferries on its Spain (Bilbao)-UK routes (via France). The boats Salamanca and Santona are set to be deployed in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Both French companies shared that they expected to jointly develop new routes.