Shipping giant invests in quantum startup Pasqal

Pasqal, a French quantum computing startup, has announced a partnership with CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest shipping and logistics companies.

As part of the “strategic” partnership, Pasqal will work with CMA CGM to integrate its quantum technologies into the shipping company’s maritime transport and logistics operations.

The deal includes an agreement to create a Quantum Center of Excellence, which will be equipped with access to Pasqal’s quantum processor, and train CMA CGM’s staff on quantum computing.

CMA CGM said it will seek to use quantum computing to optimise its container management, including their loading on ships. More broadly, improvements are also expected in terms of efficiency, responsiveness, and adaptability to market fluctuations.

“With Pasqal, we aim to unlock the full potential of quantum computing for greater operational efficiency, serving our customers,” Hadi Zablit, executive vice president at the CMA CGM, said.

Pasqal CEO Geroges-Olivier Reymond said the firm was eager to start working with the “historic” French company that traces its roots back to the mid-19th century.

“All of Pasqal’s priorities are reflected in this partnership with CMA CGM: developing concrete use cases with leading industrial players, accelerating the understanding of the potential of quantum computing, and continuing cutting-edge research to serve the quantum ecosystem,” Reymond said.

The size of the investment was not disclosed. Founded in 2019 by a group of scientists, including Nobel Prize winner Alain Aspect, Pasqal has so far secured €140 million ($151.5 million) in financing.

Earlier this year, Pasqal signed a deal with Aramco, an integrated energy and chemicals company, to install the first quantum computer in Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, the French startup will deploy a 200-qubit quantum computer in the second half of 2025.

Pasqal also had collaboration or partnership agreements with Siemens, BMW Group, and IBM among others.

Meanwhile, CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping company, has stakes in other emerging technology startups, including the Paris-based Mistral AI and Kyutai, an AI research lab, also based in the French capital.