In 1951, Claude Vidil and Pierre Giraud create the company Marseille-Fret. They charter their first ship, the ‘Douce France', an old three masted Icelandic fishing boat with which they start to carry general cargo to Algeria and Tunisia. Up to 1962, it is the spirit of tramping. During this period Marseille-Fret acquires its first vessels.
In the 70's the company opens agencies at Paris, Rouen and Dunkirk and is running 7 ships under the French flag with more than 150 seamen on the payroll and lines to Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, the East Med and the Red Sea.
The company occupies a substantial part of the market in project cargoes and heavy lifts.
After 1980, Claude Vidil and Pierre Giraud astutely change tack : they leave the Mediterranean and they embrace the new concepts of containerisation and roro.
With the purchase of the ‘Douce France III', a container ship of 440 teus, Marseille-Fret inaugurates its first liner service to the French Antilles and French Guyana from Dunkirk and Rouen. In the years that follow the Company acquires two ‘con-ro' ships and, in 1984, opens a liner service to Canada.
In 1987 a restructuring of the company sees the birth of ‘Compagnie Maritime Marfret' designed to take on the role of Line Operator, whilst Marseille-Fret continues with the ownership and running of the vessels. The young Marfret team opens up, in 1987, a new line from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean and in 1989 another to the Indian Ocean.
In 1995 Marfret inaugurates the Colombia Express service and the ‘Round the World'. The 'round the world' service that Marfret takes over from Europac when the latter ceased trading to Papeete and Noumea.
In partnership with CMA CGM, Marfret added new destinations in USA, Australia and Asia. In 1998 Marfret returns to Algeria with the opening of a line from Marseille and Genoa in partnership with Sudcargos. Subsequently the Algerian ports of Skikda and Oran are added in late 1999.
SINCE YEAR 2000
A marked increase in competition on the established lines during the last 10 years has built into Marfret an unerring ability to adapt constantly to an ever-changing market.
They have been able to do this in 3 ways :
- By consolidating their presence, both commercially and geographically, in their core trades. The Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
- By reacting extremely quickly to variations in the wildly erratic markets and the cut-throat competitive climate of shipping today.
- By expanding their partnership operating agreements with other companies: an agreement with CGM and Maersk to the French Antilles and French Guyana; an agreement with CGM and Contship on the ‘Round the World' service; an agreement with Maersk, CGM and Nordana on the Mediterranean-Caribbean service and an agreement with Conti Lines on the Colombia Express Service.
This ability of Marfret to react quickly is nowhere more evident than in the field of tramping where the company is ready at a moment's notice to spot charter tonnage for any type of project cargo.
The quest for new areas of business has meant that, recently, Marfret has been able to move into the realm of providing a ship agency service for other companies. The network of different lines operated by Marfret, together with those of the partners, has permitted the development of a very significant Cross Trade activity.
The Group MARSEILLE FRET-MARFRET is now a recognised player in the liner shipping as it has managed to bring together all the factors of success: fairness and competitiveness. Indeed, MARFRET has managed to both improve the frequency of its services and generate economies of scale.
Our Group is positioned as a real alternative.
In the context of globalisation of trade, the strategic choice of the group MARSEILLE FRET-MARFRET is the development of its activities in full independence.
Since 2005, our Group manages a successful diversification into logistics river and land by creating Fluviofeeder® and investing in stevedoring and storage.
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