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Charles Le Borgne (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2015-04-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: charles le borgne |
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House flag of Charles Le Borgne - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 May 2014

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Presentation of Charles Le Borgne

Charles Le Borgne (historical blog) is proudly self-styled "the oldest French shipping company". Established in Fécamp (Normandy) in 1735, the company has been ruled since then by the same family:

1735-1759	Charles Jean Le Borgne
1759-1786	Charles Guillaume Le Borgne
1786-1825	Charles Le Borgne
1825-1848	Augustin Le Borgne
1848-1891	Augustin Charles Le Borgne
1891-1902	Augustin Le Borgne and his sons
1902-1908	Augustin Le Borgne Jr. and Charles Le Borgne
1908-1943 	Charles Le Borgne
1943-1978	Jacques Joubert (Charles Le Borgne' son-in-law)
1978-1986	Philippe Joubert

The ships of the company were all named for family members: Alberte Le Borgne, Augustin Le Borgne, Charles Le Borgne, Ginette Le Borgne, Joséphine Le Borgne, Marie-Agnès Le Borgne, Marie-Louise Le Borgne, Marie-Thérèse Le Borgne, Nicole Le Borgne, Pierre Le Borgne.

The company was originally established by Charles Jean Le Borgne, from Écrainville, for the local transportation and trade of spices, coffee, wine, sugar, dyes, etc. The ships of the company went privateering during the First Empire, following the set up of the Continental System. In the middle of the 19th century, the company increased its fleet, opened branches in several ports of the Channel and Atlantic coast, and entered the juicy market of coal and salt transportation.

Augustin Le Borgne (1891-1902) launched the first deep-sea ships of the company and four ships for cod fishing in Newfoundland, establishing a fully-owned subsidiary, the Société Fécampoise de Pêche. His sons, Augustin and Charles, founded in Fécamp a modern factory to prepare dried cod, sold under the brand "Le Corsaire". Beforehand, the fishing ships had to sail back from Newfoundland and Iceland to Bordeaux and southern France, where dry cod was traditionally prepared. Le Borgne operated at the time the first steam trawler in Fécamp. Augustin Le Borgne retired in 1908 to manage another company.
In 1919, Le Borgne was the first coal importer in France (up to 1 million tons per year); factories were established in Saint-Malo, Saint-Servan, Nantes and Rouen, producing 300,000 tons of coal briquettes and nuts.

Charles Le Borgne purchased in 1924 80% of the plots, buildings and port equipment of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The company established branches in Marseilles, Lyon, Rouen, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais and Brest (France) and Algiers, Oran, Philippeville (Skikda), Bougie (Bejaia) and Bône (Annaba) (Algeria). Two scheduled lines were established from Rouen to Morocco and Algeria, while another four served Algiers and Oran from Marseille and Sète.
Following the independence of Algeria, the company withdrew to France; after a failed attempt to establish scheduled lines serving Corsica, Jacques Joubert refused to register the company's ships under foreign flag. In April 1974, he sold the fleet and transformed the company into a maritime agency. Headquartered in Paris, the company ran 18 port agencies in France and representations in Antwerp, Casablanca, London and New York.
After the death of Jacques Joubert in 1986, the company was sold to the Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM) and divided into two branches, CBL Liner (maritime agency for scheduled lines) and Charles Le Borgne S.A. (agency for tramping, transit and trucking), eventually acquired in 1991 by SAGA. CLB Liner was sold on 27 September 1997 to group SO.FIN.CO - which was renamed NAXCO on 1 October 1998. The tramping operations were stopped on 31 December 2003.

Ivan Sache, 23 May 2014

House flag of Charles Le Borgne

The house flag of Charles Le Borgne is horizontally divided into 13 horizontal stripes, in turn red and white. In the middle of the flag is placed a blue star charged with the white letter "CLB".
The flag is represented on the watercolour of the company's headquarters in Paris, painted by Albert Brenet (1903-2004), Painter of the Navy. Another painting by Albert Brenet shows the flag hoisted on a ship. The flag is also represented on the company's headed notepaper.

Ivan Sache, 20 May 2014

Société Fécampoise de Pêche


House flag of SFP - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 May 2014

The flag of the SFP (image) is white with a blue border, in the middle a blue square diamond with a yellow border and a blue fimbriation, charged with the yellow letters "SFP".

Ivan Sache, 20 May 2014