CMA CGM, French government partner to provide humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Tanya Saadé Zeenny, President of the CMA CGM Foundation, Catherine Colonna, France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Romatet, Head of the CDCS at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Vadym Omelchenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to France, launched the “A Ship for Ukraine” operation September 28.

The CMA CGM Foundation is helping provide relief to Ukraine alongside the Crisis and Support Centre (CDCS) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs by dispatching a ship full of humanitarian aid to meet the urgent needs of Ukraine’s civilian population.

A strong commitment to support Ukraine’s civilian population

This operation is the latest in a series undertaken under the partnership established in January 2020 between the CMA CGM Foundation and the CDCS, including several large-scale humanitarian operations in Lebanon, India and Tunisia.

Back in March, an initial operation shipped 55 tons of emergency equipment to Ukraine through the deployment of a CMA CGM AIR CARGO plane. This new operation is the culmination of several weeks of planning by the teams at the Foundation, CMA CGM Group and CDCS to receive the supplies at the terminal, load them onto the ship and transport them by sea from Marseille to Constanţa.

A roll-on, roll-off ship (ro-ro) carrying solely humanitarian aid

The AKNOUL, a ro-ro vessel belonging to the CMA CGM Group with a capacity of 1,060 linear meters, has been redeployed from its usual service and left Marseille bound for Constanţa carrying solely humanitarian equipment aboard:

  • Civil security: fire and rescue vehicles, semi-rigid inflatable boats, personal protection and rescue equipment (rescue, clearance and protective equipment) and tents.
  • Emergency repair equipment: power generators, over 200 meters of emergency bridges and other construction equipment.
  • Medical assistance: emergency and resuscitation drugs and a medical vehicle equipped with a mobile X-ray machine.
  • Food aid: 60,000 food rations, 13 tons of milk, 48 tons of prepared meals.

Ro-ro vessels are perfectly suited to the needs of humanitarian transport because they can carry both containers and motor vehicles. Two marine firefighters from the Marseille battalion and a civil security fire rescue workers with military training will travel on board the ship with the crew under the command of a captain who is a Ukrainian national.

A large-scale humanitarian and logistics operation

All in all, more than 1,000 tons of equipment will be shipped to Ukraine thanks to the donations made by an array of different French businesses, non-profits, local authorities and by the French government. 

The CMA CGM Foundation is covering the cost of deploying the AKNOUL for the journey by sea from Marseille to Constanţa, with the CMA CGM Group handling operational arrangements. 

The equipment will be delivered to the Ukrainian authorities, including the Ukrainian State Emergency Service and the Ministry of Health, as well as to municipalities in Ukraine, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Stryi. 

All the equipment has been selected by the CDCS in tandem with its Ukrainian partners and beneficiaries to respond as effectively as possible to their needs in providing relief to Ukrainian civilians affected by the conflict.

Tanya Saadé Zeenny, President of the CMA CGM Foundation, said: “Many different stakeholders worked alongside the government on this large-scale operation. We had a role to play and a duty to handle shipping and logistics for the operation, which is fully aligned with our values of solidarity and mutual assistance.”

Photo credit: Pexels/ Nataliia Pugach

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