A new site in Istres expands their coverage in Southern France
Epalia, the French leader in pallet reuse with over 16 million pallets handled per year, strengthened its presence in the south of France in November by opening a 14,000 m2site in Istres. Provence Promotion provided real estate search assistance to Epalia, which firmly believes in the vast potential of this region and its diverse economy. The Domaine de Coromandel was a clear choice thanks to its proximity to the manufacturing sites ‒ especially chemical plants ‒ on the banks of Étang de Berre and the thriving logistics platforms. Epalia’s business activities range from buying and selling used pallets of all kinds to managing handling unit inventories.
In early November, Epalia celebrated the opening of its enormous, fully renovated platform in Istres, which occupies 14,000 m2 in and includes a 1,000 m2 building.
“We had a presence in Arles, but the site was too small, in light of our ambition and the growth outlook in this market. We wanted to be closer to our suppliers and customers. With this new site, we can be very responsive and encourage the reuse of thousands of pallets with a tailor-made offer, dedicated to the actors in the local economy,” declares Renaud Cornu, President of Epalia.
The simplified joint-stock company has a staff of 350 employees working at 35 sites throughout France. Its relocation was made possible by Provence Promotion, which the company discovered at the SITL trade show. Eighteen months elapsed between giving voice to the expansion plan and moving in to the Provence facilities.
“Provence Promotion presented multiple potential areas to us in the townships of Port Saint-Louis, Berre, Tarascon, and so on. We opted for Domaine de Coromandel in Istres, especially because of its highway access and its proximity to regional manufacturing sites. We serve customers within a 100-kilometer radius of the platform,” explains Renaud Cornu.
10 new jobs coming soon
The company fully intends to pitch its expertise to industrial order makers operating around Fos and Lavéra.
“Our target market encompasses everyone who uses pallets, from manufacturers to distributors in every sector: food processing, construction materials, packaging, glassmakers, et cetera,” says Renaud Cornu.
In light of the growth outlook, the Istres platform ‒ which already employs five people ‒ plans to hire 10 more staff over the course of the coming year.
Epalia recycles 500 different pallet models and very seldom uses mechanization. “Pallets are not trash; they are handling units that can be reused. Our teams repair them to the specifications given by our customers,” stresses the company president. For 30 years, Epalia has been growing successfully in the realm of the circular economy.
Each year, 50 million wood pallets are produced and 100 million are reused. Epalia has a 10% share of that market in France. A subsidiary of Sita (Suez), Epalia was sold to AIAC in 2018. The American industrial holding company gives Renaud Cornu plenty of latitude and agility in decision making. In 2019, Epalia posted total sales of €60 million.
Learn more about Epalia: Epalia, a French leader in pallet reuse, leverages 30 years of expertise to operate more than 30 sites in France. As a player in the circular economy, its business activities range from buying and selling used pallets to managing handling unit inventories. Thanks to digital tools and teams with strong ties to their trade areas, Epalia transforms pallets into a service. Epalia pioneered “Reverse Palett” to deliver the right pallet to the right place at the right time. www.epalia.fr