- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2021

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that the commonwealth has secured an expanded contract with CMA CGM Group, an international shipping company that is expected to bring 400 new jobs to  Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

“This project is a tremendous victory for Virginia that will add significant momentum to our economic recovery as we emerge from this pandemic,” Mr. Northam said. “Hampton Roads has a well-deserved reputation as a maritime services hub, and our renowned tech workforce in Northern Virginia continues to attract leading companies.”

“Securing CMA CGM’s expansion sends a powerful message that The Port of Virginia stands among the world’s greatest and our Commonwealth is prepared to keep adapting to the demands of our global economy,” he added.

The company will keep its North American headquarters in Norfolk and retain the 655 employees it has on payroll in that area in addition to the 400 new hires. The majority of the new jobs will be in the Hamptons Roads area.

CMA CGM’s decision to continue direct investment and support for jobs in Norfolk is a testament to our role as a hub for innovation in international maritime and logistics. Their 15-year presence has proven Norfolk’s role as a platform for regional business development and catalyst for job growth for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander said.

The shipping company first established its location in Norfolk in 2005, and it is headquartered in Marseilles, France. CMA CGM serves 19 ports in the U.S., including the Port of Virginia. It employs more than 12,000 across the country and operates a fleet of U.S. vessels.

Officials also announced plans to invest $36 million to renovate the CMA CGM Group’s current facilities and expand customer care and operations in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

The funds also would establish ZEBOX, a start-up incubator and accelerator program, in Arlington County to assist in developing new technology for the transportation and logistics industry 4.0. There is another ZEBOX in France, and this would be the first in the U.S.

“The strong, trustful ties that bind us to the Commonwealth of Virginia will be further reinforced with the creation of 400 new jobs and strategic investments,” said Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of CMA CGM Group. “Such a partnership is a great opportunity for our Group and our American customers.”

In an unrelated matter, Mr. Northam announced a move Thursday to effectively extend the length of this year’s legislative session to its customary 46-day length after Republican lawmakers sought to cut it short.

Mr. Northam signed a proclamation summoning lawmakers for a special session that would commence Wednesday.

Technically, the annual session had been scheduled to end Thursday because Republicans limited the calendar to 30 days.

Without the action from Mr. Northam, Democrats tackling a hefty list of issues, including marijuana legalization and COVID-19 relief efforts, could have been limited in what work had they time to finish.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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