Ocean shipping line CMA CGM’s new air cargo division said Wednesday it is extending its fledgling network beyond the U.S. with the addition of destinations in Dubai, Beirut and Istanbul. 

The cargo airline began operating two months ago and currently serves Chicago, New York and Atlanta with four Airbus A330-200 freighters operated under contract by Air Belgium, a tourist carrier that is also new to the dedicated air cargo market.

Airfreight capacity is extremely tight so any extra capacity, no matter how small, is helpful to cargo owners.

CMA CGM Air Cargo’s home base is Liège, Belgium, which will serve as a transloading point for shipments between the U.S. and the new Middle East destinations.

Service to Dubai is scheduled to begin May 19. Dubai is a major trade hub for ocean and air freight moving between Europe, Asia and Africa. CMA CGM, which also owns CEVA Logistics, said the Dubai service opens the opportunity to provide customers with a combined sea-air service. 

Logistics providers are arranging more sea-air moves these days because it is less expensive than pure airfreight and offers an alternative during a period when ocean vessels are fully booked.

CMA CGM Air Cargo said it plans to start regular services from Liège to Beirut and Istanbul in the next few weeks. 

The all-cargo carrier recently flew humanitarian relief from France to India, which is experiencing a devastating outbreak of COVID-19 infections.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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