The CMA CGM Group has created Ze Box, its first international startup incubator, based in Marseilles.

Starting June 2018, the 800m² site will house a dozen of startups. The creation of Ze Box is part of CMA CGM’s strategy to make digitalization one of the pillars of its development. It is designed to accelerate initiatives that have already been launched by the group as well as take on new initiatives. Underway already is:

  •        the appointment of a worldwide team of Chief Digital Officers
    •         the creation of CMA CGM Ventures, the corporate venture structure dedicated to investments in innovative technologies. Among recent investments: Nyshex, the first digital marketplace for ocean freight contracts, or e-dray, a collaborative platform enabling drayers to limit port congestion
    •         support for Le Carburateur, a startup incubator for the northern districts of Marseilles, with financial support awarded to five businesses related to the sea, transport and logistics sectors
    •         partnerships with Aix-Marseille French Tech, a key player in digital innovation, and The Camp, an innovative campus bringing together large companies, startups, teachers and researchers
    •         a partnership with Infosys, a global IT leader, to accelerate the transformation of its information system
    •         new partnerships with major ebusiness companies like Alibaba.

Ze Box has been launched in partnership with the Aix-Marseilles University and the Aix-Marseille Provence Métropole. “As a center for exchanges aimed at accompanying startups and promote an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, Ze Box will benefit from CMA CGM’s expertise and from the skills of researchers and PhD students,” said the company in a statement. It will be headed by Matthieu Somekh, previously Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ecole Polytechnique (a leading French institute which combines top-level research, academics and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology).

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, said: “With Ze Box, CMA CGM is accelerating its digital strategy and is developing the means to become the transportation industry’s leader in innovation. By combining our expertise with the one of the startups that will be hosted within Ze Box, we will develop global innovations that create value for our customers and for CMA CGM. Thanks to Ze box, our ambition is to attract to France the best startups from all around the world.”

Maritime Incubators

Ze Box joins a number of other recently established maritime industry incubators around the world:

Wärtsilä has launched its first Digital Acceleration Centre to accelerate new business ideas in Helsinki, Finland. Another is underway in Singapore and two further acceleration centers, one in Central Europe and one in North America, are anticipated during 2018. In addition “pop-up” centers will be tested with customers around the globe.

Dr. Christopher Clott, ABS Chair of Marine Transportation and Logistics at SUNY Maritime College, has formed the Maritime Global Technologies Innovation Center at the College. Co-founded with Dr. Richard Burke, ABS Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, the center is a collaborative incubator fostering maritime technology developments.

Located in Rotterdam, PortXL partners with leading companies, organizations and individuals around the globe, including Singapore, Houston and Piraeus, to accelerate innovative companies in ports worldwide.

Naval architect Leonardo Zangrando, co-founder of Startup Wharf, has created a maritime startup accelerator in London with expertise from companies as diverse as Tesco, FremantleMedia, Google and the BBC.


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