Legendary maritime trades: Focus on the spice trade


The Silk Road opened up trade between the East and the West from 114 BCE, and the first trade in spices which the Romans loved so much – seems to have appeared during its first century. Over the centuries, and as a result of various wars and invasions, commercial exchanges went from land to sea, a safer way to transport merchandise. In the 14th century, during the time of Marco Polo’s voyages, the spice trade became more important, as a faster and safer delivery of those precious edible goods was necessary. Nowadays, spices continue to cross the seas, and notably onboard CMA CGM vessels.

The word « spices » appeared in 1150, coming from « aromates », a Greek word. It is during the middle age that the word became official in English, with an origin in Latin word “species”, which referred to every kind of special goods.

During this period people living in the West knew that spices were an ingredient which came from far away, which were therefore rare and luxury goods.

Today, spices and their various benefits are part of our daily lives.


CMA CGM, a key actor in spices trade

CMA CGM offers a high quality service transporting products worldwide, notably between Asia and Europe with containers which preserve the freshness of any products, no matter what the outdoor conditions are.

In CMA CGM, spice trade is headlined by the FAL (French Asia Line) service which links Asia and Europe. This major line allows thousands of products to arrive on the European continent and elsewhere in the world thanks to its daily rotations.

One of the Group’s Giants of the Sea travels on this line; the CMA CGM Marco Polo, a vessel with a capacity of 16 000 TEUs, connecting Asia to Europe.

This is a beautiful tribute to the famous explorer who developed exchanges between China and the Occident during the 14th Century.

Between 2015 and 2016 800,000 tons of spices were exported from India, mostly to Saudi Arabia, Emirates, the U.S., the UK, Libya and Germany. The most exported products from India are pepper, cumin and turmeric.

CMA CGM offers an optimal service to transport these spices which add a tasty touch to our meals, in a safe way and in the best times.

Source: CMA CGM

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