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SNIFL turns 50


The “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes” (National Union of Importers/Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables, or SNIFL) at Saint Charles International first came ito being in 1965. This was at a time when the few dozen importers operating on the Perpignan wholesale market were beginning to feel cramped for space and the Saint Charles trading hub was still an unfinished Holy Grail. The historic site of Saint Charles International rapidly filled up and many businesses spread out, both inside and outside the site, occupying 200,000 m2 of climate-controlled warehousing across an area of 70 ha.
The fresh fruit and vegetables tonnages sold through the Saint Charles International platform quickly grew. Yves Mir, a former director of Saint Charles, recalls the landmark year of 1984, the year of a million tons, where on one fine day in December, 20,000 tons of citrus fruit passed through the toll gates, or the equivalent weight of two Eiffel Towers.

Different names for different times:

In 1965, SNIFL was known, in English, as the “National Union of Importers and Exporters from Pyrénées-Orientales”.
In 1976, it adopted the name of “National Union of Importers and Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables from Spain”. Since then, SNIFL has remained the “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes”.
SNIFL has also developed some fine tools over the years, some of which are unique in France, such as automated import and export databases, or the sector-leading systems for tracking data in real-time.
It was also the site of the world’s first solar power plant integrated into a building in the form of photovoltaic tiles – on the roofs of the warehouses at Saint Charles, where it was inaugurated in 2011.

It has taken fifty years of tireless effort, fights and alliances to create this trading hub based in Perpignan since 1965 – a hub that leads the way in Europe for the sale, transport and logistics of fruit and vegetables.

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Bright economic outlook for Saint-Charles International


Perpignan’s Saint-Charles International – Europe’s most important fruit and vegetable marketing, transport and logistics centre – expects excellent results for the 2014/15 season, with projected increases in volumes, prices and turnover.

According to figures presented at the November 25 AGM of the SNIFL (National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Importers/Exporters), turnover for 2014/15 is forecast to be up 12.54%, volume up 7.94% and prices 4.52% compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

And also based on figures to November 16, the results for 2013/14 are expected to see a 7.79% increase in volume and 4.05% increase in turnover, but a 3.44% slip in prices, compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

Each year, Saint-Charles International handles sales worth €1.6 billion and 1.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables –mainly of Mediterranean origin – and provides 2,500 jobs.

Agreements to share statistics, monitor Moroccan imports

In a press release about the AGM, Saint-Charles International said French Customs and the SNIFL signed an agreement aimed at strengthening relations between them and collaboration on initiatives such as the proposed one-stop customs (GNU) and sharing of statistics.

It also said an agreement was signed between FranceAgrimer (France’s national institution of agricultural and seafood products), the SNIFL and 19 firms with the goal of: “the most comprehensive collection of data enabling a better approach for the calculation of the PFD. That is guaranteed both by the number of operators and their weight in the trade of Moroccan tomato in this case, and by the analysis of different types of tomatoes. Every day before 3pm, the items are sent to the MNC which can exploit them before passing them to the services of the European Commission.”

Importance of Spain for the platform

The AGM was attended by Spanish Consul General Gaudencio Vilas, who described the platform and Spain as “an inseparable duo.” Vilas said Saint Charles International made a huge contribution to the economy of the city of Perpignan and the Pyrénees-Orientales.

He said he would remain vigilant to ensuring “that  free movement of goods within the European Union is respected”, stressing that “the incidents in recent months with Spanish trucks were unacceptable.” Vilas also stressed the importance of future railway links.

Saint-Charles International also paid tribute to Spain’s importance to the market, saying: “Today, Spain is still the leading partner of the platform with some 935,000 ton in citrus fruits, vegetables and fruit, and the main companies of Spanish origin have been since a long time in Perpignan, some since 1968. This meeting was an opportunity for business leaders to show their optimism for future cooperation between Spain and Saint-Charles International, and the parent company of subsidiaries based on the platform has actually confirmed that the Perpignan was for them ‘not cost structures, but added value centers’,” it said.


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