CMA CGM appears to have overcome problems with competition authorities that could have seen the carrier’s liner services excluded from French Polynesia.
Regulators worldwide have been reviewing the French company’s US$5 billion takeover of compatriot Bolloré Logistics. Multiple international media outlets have reported that the Polynesian Competition Authority (ACP) determined the “buyout raised a risk of blocking access of freight forwarders to transport services with CMA CGM containers and the risk of increases in the price of services as well as a possible impact on the selling price of goods to the consumer”.
CMA CGM’s initial application to the ACB in October 2023 asserted that Bolloré was not active in logistics services in French Polynesia, and the group’s other logistics arm, CEVA, was only “moderately active”. However, the ACP discovered upon further review that while Bolloré does not offer logistic services or organise land transport services it held a minority stake in a freight forwarder, Transit et Transport International Tahiti, which controlled imports.
The ACP expressed concern that the new entity created in the merger would have had a “high-capacity blocking access to maritime transport of goods on the Europe-French Polynesia route.” It found CMA CGM had a “quasi-monopoly” on the route and the acquisition of Bolloré Logistics Polynesia would have added to its dominant position, the Maritime Executive reported.
The ACP concluded the transaction was “likely to harm competition” and called for CMA CGM’s weekly PAD container service, from Europe via East Coast North America and onwards to Australia and New Zealand, to be banned. Local media referred to CMA CGM’s “monopolistic ambitions”.
However, earlier this week a settlement was reach with the ACP after CMA CGM agreed to divest the maritime activity of Bolloré Logistics Polynesia and related activities by Bolloré Logistics France. This divestment includes selling the customer list, with exceptions for multi-destination customers of Bolloré Logistics.
At time of writing CMA CGM had not commented on the ACP decision. CMA CGM is still awaiting European Union approval of the takeover.