Strategic Alliance in the Red Sea: CMA CGM and Folk Maritime Join Forces

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Strategic Alliance in the Red Sea: CMA CGM and Folk Maritime Join Forces

The maritime industry giant CMA CGM, based in France, has formed a strategic partnership with the newly established Saudi maritime operator, Folk Maritime, to enhance its service offerings in the North Red Sea region. The collaboration has led to the launch of a weekly service named North Red Sea Express (NRX), designed to connect the key Saudi ports of Jeddah, Neom, and Yanbu with Sokhna in Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan. This service, which sees each partner deploying one vessel, is set to commence its inaugural voyage on April 9 from Jeddah, utilizing the 2,100 TEU capacity vessel, Jin Shun He.

The NRX service aims to address the burgeoning market and trade requirements of these regional ports, while also contributing to environmental sustainability by providing a maritime alternative that promises to lower carbon emissions across the routes between Jeddah, Neom, and Yanbu.

Olivier Nivoix, the Executive Vice President of CMA CGM Group Lines, emphasized the significance of the service, stating, “The NRX service will not only enhance the logistical capabilities of Saudi Arabia in the crucial North Red Sea corridor but also improve our service offerings to customers in this strategic region, building on CMA CGM Group’s history of direct port calls in Neom since March 2023.”

Folk Maritime, headquartered in Riyadh and led by Poul Hestbaek, the former head of Hamburg Süd who joined the firm in August of the previous year, was officially launched recently. Hestbaek highlighted the partnership's role in advancing Saudi Arabia's position as a global logistics center, stating, “Our collaboration with CMA CGM represents a major leap forward in bolstering Saudi Arabia’s status as an international logistics hub and underlines our dedication to fostering growth and enhancing connectivity in the maritime industry.”