A long-term commitment to our territories
2021 marks the SIFA Group’s renewed commitment to promote the development of our territories, those places where we feel privileged to operate. The Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach embodies our desire to continue working with territories and helping them grow, as we have for the past 70 years. This has consistently been one of our key motivating factors.
1950s: bringing the Antilles to Paris
When founded on April 15, 1951, SIFA set up its facilities right next to the Halles fresh food market in Paris, France, to offer and promote agricultural exports from the Antilles. Wholesale food activities were essential in France during the reconstruction period, still subject to rationing coupons. The project to create a company to support Antilles exports included providing sales outlets for bananas needing to be ripened in Parisian cellars, along with sugar cane, exotic fruit, and rum, while meeting restaurant professionals’ expectations.
1970s: from Paris to Rungis
In 1969, SIFA relocated to the Rungis Market of National Interest (MIN), as the Halles space was no longer large enough to handle the companies in the sector booming from the glorious 1930s. The company was then able to expand its wholesale activities, with the capacity to provide growing volumes of “off-season” products to distribution chains and brands around France. SIFA grew with the Antilles.
1980s: from wholesale to shipping
In the late 1970s, SIFA adapted its facilities to receive maritime shipping containers, whose expansion enabled countless opportunities for international forwarding. The group began to fill containers right in its warehouses, return shipping them to French overseas areas. The company’s transport activity became a business of its own in the mid-1980s.
Faced with an excessive concentration of centralized purchasing in the distribution sector, SIFA let go of its wholesale activities and focused its energy on shipping. The family-owned group moved its headquarters to Les Ulis, France, and built a warehouse specifically for logistics. There, goods were packed in containers and shipped via Le Havre to the Antilles, source of the group’s origins. By inverting the flow of transported goods, this major change enabled SIFA to work even more closely to help Antilles companies grow locally.
1990s: the boom of air services
Starting in the Caribbean, then reaching French Guiana, Reunion Island, and finally all French overseas territories, SIFA invested in warehouses to handle containers and deliver cargo to customers and their recipients. Our local agency teams took care of Customs clearing operations, providing service expertise with high added value on top of transport activities.
During that period, air freight operations emerged as a natural complement to the Group’s maritime offering. SIFA opened its agency at the Orly airport in France in 1999 to offer direct access to overseas channels.
2000s: expanding into France’s major ports
The 2000s were marked by the Group’s new shipping warehouses, opened at France’s major ports: Le Havre, Fos, and Rouen. Regular growth in volumes of goods handled with France’s overseas departments and territories led the group to increase its coverage and adapt to continue providing the services needed by clients.
2010s: a worldwide perspective leveraging local logistics
SIFA opened its first foreign locations in 2010 to cover the needs of clients procuring goods outside Europe: Miami, Los Angeles, Singapore, and more recently, Australia and New Zealand. With these locations, SIFA continued to improve connections between French overseas departments and territories and the rest of the world.
We pursued this approach by opening an agency at Roissy Charles de Gaulle International Airport in 2017, followed by new agencies in Ivory Coast and Senegal in 2020, pioneering the Group’s vision to serve French-speaking Africa.
While continuing to meet the increasingly specific needs of overseas markets, SIFA has worked since 2015 to renovate all of its locations in order to offer – in addition to its modernized shipping activities – storage and local logistics services with high added value.
SIFA considers service innovation and integration of digital technologies as priorities moving forward. These aspects support our efforts to both increase and personalize exchanges between our sites and the rest of the world.
In the spring of 2021, SIFA inaugurated its most recent new-generation logistics platform in New Caledonia: PANDA. Investment in our territories remains a top priority for SIFA.
Starting in 2015, the Group also opened new sales agencies around France to offer the best possible local service for clients and their suppliers: Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and soon Lille. It is still our goal to continue strengthening ties between French overseas departments and territories and the rest of the world.
We plan to inaugurate our new headquarters in late 2021. To celebrate its 70 years in business, SIFA will be giving its employees in the Paris region an environment that is favorable for their personal and professional fulfilment over the coming years. Like all the Group’s locations, the new site will be managed according to SIFA’s CSR ambitions.