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French shipping line CMA-CGM to bring packaged water brand to India

Marseille, France-based CMA-CGM SA will bring its packaged drinking water brand Beaupre into the Indian market.

The world’s third largest container shipping firm is diversifying its portfolio to tap businesses that compliment its core area of transporting cargo containers amidst a massive shake-up in the global box shipping industry.

“We are looking to enter the water business in India,” Audrey Dolhen, Managing Director, CMA CGM India, told BusinessLine in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s going to be imported. Water is the new oil.”

The iconic French shipping group, led by CEO Rodolphe Saade, is also looking at potential investment opportunities in container terminals, inland activities such as warehousing, container freight stations and supply chain.

Saade had visited India in April to open a new container terminal — its first in the country — at Mundra port in Gujarat, constructed through an equal joint venture with the Adani Group. The facility has a capacity to load 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent units or TEUs.

“He (Saade) saw a very big potential for growth in India, be it in container terminals and other areas of the inland supply chain. There is a lot of action after Saade was here. We are focussing on investments in all the aspects of the inland supply chain that helps us provide end-to-end solutions to customers,” said Dolhen.

The company’s diversification into the packaged drinking water segment, through a subsidiary named Aqualink, seeks to make available French luxury goods at a competitive price in markets where there is demand.

“We have the big advantage of logistics competitiveness on our side. It is not only about water. It can be other beverages, chocolates and so on, anything that is associated with France,” he said.

Bottled at source
In this, the company has a host of other brands including drinking water brands based on mineral content, sparkling still etc.

It even has a water brand specifically catering to babies up to three years. CMA-CGM has bought a spring in Signes, Southern France, and the water is bottled at the source.

The water brands are being sold in China, Senegal, Ivory Coast, West Asia and Singapore.

Elie Zeenny, Senior Vice-President and Head of Aqualink International, said that “there is always a space for a new entrant”, deflecting doubts whether it could make a mark in the already crowded Indian packaged drinking water market.

“Apart from expats who demand such a product, the average Indian is also becoming brand conscious,” Zeenny said.

CMA CGM is present in multiple verticals in India, employing more than 4,000 people. The company’s biggest shared service centres are based out of Mumbai and Chennai.
Source: The Hindu Business Line

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