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HAMBURG: CMA CGM has acquired the short-sea operator Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschiffs-Rhederei (OPDR) from the Bernhard Schulte Group.

OPDR-TANGERAs the name implies, the company began a liner service between Oldenburg and Portugal in 1882. Today it operates seven container/ro-ro vessels (right) via subsidiary companies linking ports in Northern Europe, Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco.

Commenting on the acquisition, CMA CGM group executive officer Farid Salem said: "This new acquisition reinforces the group's presence on the growing intra-European short sea transportation market. This is a continuation of our strategy to broaden our regional network, a strategy that began with the acquisition of MacAndrews in 2002. As with MacAndrews, we plan on maintaining and developing the OPDR company as well as creating new synergies with both MacAndrews and the CMA CGM Group."

London-based MacAndrews is described as a "niche, intra-European multimodal specialist providing full load transport between the UK and Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Benelux, including Germany, Poland, the Baltics, Scandinavia and Russia". The company was originally founded in Elgin, Scotland in 1770 and began its first liner service in 1857. CMA CGM bought the company from Andrew Weir Shipping in 2003.

OPDR and MacAndrews expect to carry a total of 330,000 short-sea TEUs this year. Last month OPDR and Helsinki-based Containerships Oy announced a semi-direct service from Agadir, Morocco to St. Petersburg following the launch of a weekly OPDR reefer service connecting Spain, the UK, and Holland with Russia.

"The start of the new service is in line with the ongoing growth strategy of the OPDR Group in Morocco and meets our customers' demand for competitive alternative transport services in the region of Agadir and the river Souss," said managing director Michael Duhamel.

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