Delmas (shipping company)

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Industry Transport
Fate Acquired by the CMA CGM Group
Successor CMA CGM Group
Founded 1867
Defunct March 1, 2016 (2016-03-01)
Area served
Products Shipping
Freight distribution

Delmas Shipping, based in Le Havre, France, was a containerized-freight and ro-ro shipping company, mainly carrying trade between western Europe and Africa. It was the largest cargo carrier between European and African ports, and Europe's oldest extant shipping line.[citation needed] Delmas is wholly owned by the CMA CGM Group, having been acquired from the Bolloré Group for €470 million in 2005. The Delmas brand was fully integrated into CMA CGM in March 2016.

The company operated a fleet of 49 vessels with a collective capacity of 63,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU),[1] on 15 routes between Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean.

A Delmas container ship unloading at the Zanzibar port in Tanzania


Delmas Freres was founded by Julien & Frank Delmas in 1867 to transport coal and raw materials from the French port of La Rochelle. In 1910 the company was renamed Delmas Vieljeux after its president, joint owner and Mayor of La Rochelle, Leonce Vieljeux.[2]

The first Delmas shipyard opened in 1922 and international shipping began in 1925 with imports of mahogany from the African state of Gabon for use in boxes for storage of butter and cheese.[2] After World War II the company relocated to Le Havre and began to specialise in Africa-European trade. It was acquired by the Bolloré Group in a hostile takeover in 1996, but a series of restructures led to a loss of market share and the sacking of 140 staff.[3]

In September 2005 the company was sold to CMA CGM for €470 million. The sale was supported by the Delmas workforce after CMA CGM agreed to a package including no forced redundancies and the retention of the Le Havre offices and Delmas branding.[4] However, the CMA CGM group announced in March 2016 that it will integrate the Delmas brand with its own in order to streamline service and unify all of its maritime activities to and from Africa under a single brand.[5]

In February 2010, Delmas was put in the spotlight for its involvement in the shipment of illegally logged rainforest wood from Madagascar.[6]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Delmas". CMA CGm Group, Marseille. 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Delmas Shipping Company (France)". Flags of the World. July 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  3. ^ "CMA CGM Delmas bid gets Standard & Poor's approval". Ministry of Investment, Industry, Technology and Information, Government of Malta. September 2005. Archived from the original on December 28, 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  4. ^ "CMA-CGM/Delmas Deal to Be Closed" (PDF). Maritime Digital Archive. September 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-15. [dead link]
  5. ^
  6. ^ "French company prepares to ship illegally logged rainforest wood from Madagascar". February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-26.