Norfolk shipping, logistics company to create 400 jobs through $36M expansion
CMA CGM Group to also create startup incubator in Arlington County
Shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Group will keep its North American headquarters in Norfolk and invest $36 million to expand its Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia operations, creating more than 400 jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
The French company opened its first Virginia office in 2002 in Virginia Beach and in 2005 moved its headquarters to Norfolk. It currently employs approximately 655 people there.
“This project is a tremendous victory for Virginia that will add significant momentum to our economic recovery as we emerge from this pandemic,” Northam said in a statement. “Hampton Roads has a well-deserved reputation as a maritime services hub and our renowned tech workforce in Northern Virginia continues to attract leading companies.”
The company’s investment will go toward the expansion of its customer care and finance operations in Hampton Roads and the establishment in Arlington County of Zebox, a startup incubator and accelerator started by CMA CGM Group Chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saadé. The goal of Zebox is to help startups develop new transportation, logistics and mobilities technology. The company operates the same startup concept in France.
The majority of the jobs created from the expansion will be in Hampton Roads, however. The commonwealth of Virginia could not comment neither on the type of jobs nor the expected average salaries.
“Securing CMA CGM’s expansion sends a powerful message that The Port of Virginia stands among the world’s greatest and our commonwealth is prepared to keep adapting to the demands of our global economy.”
CMA CGM serves 19 U.S. ports, including The Port of Virginia, with 34 services and 93 weekly port calls. The company’s 538 vessels carried nearly 22 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2019, serving more than 420 ports across the world. In total, the company employs more than 12,000 people across the U.S.
“Such a partnership is a great opportunity for our group and our American customers. Furthermore, given the success of our startup incubator and accelerator Zebox in France, we’re thrilled to launch Zebox America in Arlington County,” Saadé said in a statement. “This is an exciting challenge to enable the development of innovative, game-changing projects and technologies.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the city of Norfolk, Hampton Roads Alliance, Port of Virginia and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. The company will be eligible for a $9.5 million MEI custom performance grant with approval from the General Assembly. CMA CGM can also access Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program benefits. VEDP’s Virginia Talent Accelerator Program will provide job creation support.
“We have had a long, collaborative relationship and partnership with CMA CGM and are very pleased that the company elected to expand its operations and grow its workforce in Virginia,” John F. Reinhart, Virginia Port Authority CEO and executive director emeritus, said in a statement. “We are fortunate that our new CEO and executive director, Stephen Edwards, knows the CMA CGM team very well and will work to build upon the strong foundation we have with this important customer and its business in Virginia.”