The agency is growing in Vitrolles on the Technoparc du Griffon
LPO Sogena, a subsidiary of the family-owned Sofrino-Sogena group, opened an office in the Bouches-du Rhône region in June 2018 to expand its imports of agri-food products, general merchandise and hazardous products. In 12 months, the freight forwarding company from Normandy had put down roots in the local ecosystem thanks to match-making support from Provence Promotion. Furthermore, LPO Sogena, an avid promoter of modal shifts, just earned the MedLink Safe accreditation and is involved in industry-wide advocacy efforts led by the association Via Marseille Fos.
A successful southern incursion for Sofrino-Sogena. One year after opening an office in Vitrolles for its shipping subsidiary, LPO Sogena, business is booming and the staff size has doubled. Today, the forwarding agent has nine employees at the Technoparc du Griffon who are specialists in marine products, general merchandise and dangerous products. “We had significant volume on the English Channel and the Atlantic Coast. When Fabien Pesnel, a freight forwarding professional with expertise in agri-food, was named CEO of LPO Sogena, it created an opportunity to expand into Provence” notes Ludovic François, who manages the branch in Vitrolles. The location is a strategic choice because it is at the heart of an area defined by Marseille, Fos and the Marseille-Provence airport.
Provence Promotion’s connections enabled the Normandy-based family company to network with Marseille businesses and to integrate the city’s logistics and port operations community. “With around 15 containers of agri-food products imported each week, we are now the biggest company, by volume, at the border inspection station. Seafood and fish are imported from China, Thailand and Latin America through the Fos port. Refrigerated merchandise currently accounts for half of our total sales,” stresses Ludovic François.
Promoting a modal shift to the Mediterranean-Rhône-Saône axis
LPO Sogena has been an Approved Economic Operator since 2010 and last year it obtained MedLink Safe accreditation, which facilitates a modal shift while ensuring security, guaranteed shipment, ease of parking and simplification of declarations procedures. It also guarantees immediate processing of the merchandise as soon as it arrives at the Marseille Fos port. “LPO Sogena believes in the potential of the river to transport dangerous goods. A proactive, well-managed declarations process from end to end with certified actors lays the foundation for a reliable transportation plan and better management of the risks associated with dangerous goods,” says Camille Berthelot, Dangerous Goods & Waste Cargo Coordinator at LPO Sogena.
Sofrino-Sogena was created 190 years ago and now has 70 companies and 1,100 employees around the world for total annual sales of €400 million. The group is especially active in handling, consignment, storage, transport and transit.