France: After Halal products and Halal stores, here comes HALAL Logistics

After Halal products and Halal stores, here comes HALAL Logistics. The Port of Marseille, with the strong support of the Malaysian government, is actively developing this sector. Intense lobbying is in place in order to convince logistic companies to move into this sector.

By Didier Gazanhes and Alexandre Leoty

There is no religious aspect for this move to Halal logistics, it is only about the business of working in the Halal sector. The idea was officially launched in 2012 by the Port of Marseille, when the launch of the ‘Hub to Hub Halal Logistics’ was set up with Port Klang. At the time the director of business development, Dick Becquart was highlighting the potential of the sector and how the Halal logistics required specific set up that is not yet available. The idea is to set up Halal logistics in the way it is already available for the Kosher industry. Indeed if the product is certified the logistic service should also be certified. For the Port of Marseille, the market and opportunity is huge, since it could allow the Port to serve a potential target of 220 million consumers across Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Three warehouses at The Feuillane

After a year of working with this initiative, the sector is already very active. Quietly, but surely, TIOS Group, through Caroline Couronne’s work, is lobbying the sector under the mandate of the Malaysian Government in order to convince local economic players, and first of all logistic players, to develop HALAL. ‘Marseille has been identified by Malaysia as the ideal platform to develop HALAL activities. This city cultivates a deep relationship with the Muslim world and the Mediterranean culture.” Within this promotion task, Caroline Couronne has found a natural ally with the Port of Marseille. “The Port of Marseille does not have the ambition to be HALAL but to be a facilitator, in order to facilitate incoming HALAL flows from Asia and Latin America and outgoing flows to Mediterranean markets.” “ It is up to logistic companies to transform their warehouses with Halal facilities” he says.

Import and export flows

So what do logistic companies really think about this? In 2010, SDV expressed its interest. “As a major transport company we cannot ignore the HALAL sector. Currently we do not have any specific warehousing, we label HALAL products for Carrefour through our Rungis facilities. We are currently studying specific certification possibilities and the necessity to have a specific HALAL Warehouse”. Does it need to be in Marseille FOS? What would be its size? Is there enough HALAL trade for us to spend in this market? We are completely disconnected from the religious aspect, we are a logistic provider, and we are simply trying to adapt to this new opportunity. If the need is real, we will offer the necessary value-added services to our clients”.

What about HALAL Production?

Beyond HALAL Logistics, can France and Marseille become a HALAL Producing country and region? The Marseille Promotion is organizing a meeting this coming week to develop this initiative to local industrial players. We are currently thinking about this opportunity for across the board activities, says Eric Sermerjan from Marseille Provence Promotion. Halal Business will make noise for a long time in Marseille.