The combination of large storage capacities for refined products built in the 70s by local oil companies, in line with the desire of players in the mass distribution sector to enter the retail market of refined white products have contributed to the development of this sector in the Atlantic Port La Rochelle.
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Until the last century, on the Atlantic seafront, the petroleum groups located on the Loire and Gironde estuaries used to import crude products, refined them on their sites and did not want others to trade in these products .
Thanks to the dynamism of new players in this market, the La Rochelle port area allowed major changes in the trade of these products, described today as "loss leaders" in the mass distribution and retail sectors. Moreover, to date, the oil companies have focused again on their initial job, that is, exploration and extraction of crude oil, thus progressively abandoning the distribution of refined products in favour of supermarkets.
The current industry players in the "petroleum products" sector, the group Picoty as well as SDLP are independent entities offering storage facilities, having a reception terminal for tankers on the Port of La Rochelle, with their own unloading facilities. They transport the unloaded products to their storage sites and provide this port service to others, mainly for mass distribution or their own networks, Picoty for its own brand Avia, SDLP for the Total brand.
Despite the variations in climate and the trend toward energy savings, the Port has maintained the same level of tonnage in the last decade, due to the overall quality of the facility as a whole. It thus plays its role as a major player in the service of its natural hinterland regions Poitou-Charentes and Limousin, both for businesses and households.