CMA CGM Group has become a founder member of a “revolutionary” new venture developing electric vans.

The French container ship giant will sink €120m ($129m) into Flexis SAS by 2026 in return for a 10% stake.

Car makers Renault and Volvo will have 45% each and are investing €300m apiece.

The three global players said they are creating “the most innovative and efficient player to address the challenges of energy transition” in the sector.

Flexis SAS will be based in France and the all-electric vans will use Renault technology.

CMA CGM is making the investment through Pulse, its energy investment fund.

Created by CEO Rodolphe Saade in 2022, Pulse has a €1.5bn mandate to decarbonise the logistics chain.

“New expectations for electrified vans are emerging as professional customers are facing increasing pressure from climate change and CO2 regulations, while e-commerce and logistics are booming,” CMA CGM said.

The European market for the vehicles is expected to grow by 40% per year until 2030.

The vans will have “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor drivers’ delivery activity and business performance, reducing costs by up to 30%, the shipowner added.

The Sandouville factory will recruit 550 workers over the next four years.

Diversification drive

CMA CGM has been diversifying more widely in logistics and media in recent years.

Last month, Saade and his family launched a €1.55bn venture to take an 80% stake in France’s third-largest media group, Altice Media.

In 2022, the group had a bid accepted to buy the daily La Provence.

In February this year, CMA CGM completed its €4.85bn purchase of Bollore Logistics, and it has also moved into air freight.

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