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CMA CGM has followed Maersk’s lead, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the world’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba.
The agreement is for container space on its Asia-Mediterranean and Asia-Adriatic services, booked via Alibaba’s OneTouch platform.
The service will allow Chinese exporters to bypass freight forwarders.
Customers can use OneTouch to book space on CMA CGM’s MEX 1 service, which connects the Chinese export gateways of Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian with the Med gateways of Barcelona and Valencia and CMA CGM’s transhipment hub at Malta.
It also connects the Asia-Bosporus BEX service to Shanghai, Ningbo and Chiwan with the Adriatic gateways of Rijeka, Koper, Trieste and Venice.
OneTouch also offers import and export services such as customs clearance and logistics, as well as air freight and express booking.
The development could well add renewed fuel to the debate about the digitisation of shipping and the potential threat of e-commerce platforms to traditional freight service providers.
“For CMA CGM, it is one step ahead to create added value to its customers and to make the industry meet the digital world,” a statement from the line said.