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Chargeurs Réunis (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2006-12-23 by ivan sache
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[Chargeurs Reunis house flag]

[Chargeurs Reunis house flag]         [Chargeurs Reunis house flag]

House flag of Chargeurs Réunis
Top, first flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 November 2002
Bottom, second flag, two versions - Images by Jarig Bakker, 17 October 2005

See also:

Presentation of Chargeurs Réunis

Chargeurs Réunis was founded in Le Havre in 1872. Twenty-five years later, the company owned 35 ships. They transported each year some 470,000 tons cargo and 13,600 passengers (data for 1891). Their lines linked Le Havre to the coast of West Africa, Brazil, Argentina and New York.
In 1916, Chargeurs Réunis took the control of Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique, which operated big, modern liners owned by the French state on the Bordeaux-Brazil-Plata line.

In 1927, the Fabre family raided Chargeurs Réunis via an hostile tender offer, a procedure which was very uncommon at that time. Paul Cyprien Fabre presided the Fabre company, whereas Léon Cyprien Fabre and his associate Alexis Baptifaut presided Chargeurs Réunis.
The group invested in air transport in 1933. After an unsuccessful attempt to take over Aéropostale, the group founded Aéromaritime. In 1937, Chargeurs Réunis, still directed by Léon Fabre and Alexis Baptifaut, seceded from Fabre.

After the Second World War, the Chargeurs fleet was reduced to some 15 ships. The company was presided by Francis Cyprien Fabre. Between 1964 and 1976, the company took over several French ship owners, including Fabre, Fraissinet, Société Générale des Transports Maritimes, Paquet and Union Navale.
In 1979, Chargeurs Réunis was involved in several branches of international transport, including:
- maritime bulk and container shipping , transport of passengers, cars and gas
- port agency
- air transport, with a 63% interest in the carrier UTA
- the UTH chain of 17 international hotels
The company operated 64 ships, 40 under its flag and 24 in association with Delmas-Vieljeux. It was then the third European transport company.
In January 1980, Jérôme Seydoux took the control of Chargeurs Réunis and progressively sold off all the branches of the group. In 1990, the whole fleet had been sold and UTA was taken over by Air France.

Source: Fabre family website

Ivan Sache, 23 January 2005

According to Lloyds the company was formed 1886 as Compagnie Française de Navigation à Vapeur Chargeurs Réunis changing to Compagnie Maritime des Chargeurs Réunis and then in 1988 to Chargeurs S.A., disappearing by 2000. There are a couple of other variation in sundry books with most referring simply to Chargeurs Réunis.

Neale Rosanoski, 25 December 2002

House flag of Chargeurs Réunis

The first houseflag of Chargeurs Réunis is white with five red stars placed 2+1+2.
The actual flag was changed apparently towards the end with the addition in the hoist of a red oblong placed vertically by Brown (1995) [lgr95] but slanting slightly per bend sinister.

Ivan Sache, Neale Rosanoski & Jarig Bakker, 17 October 2005

Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique

[Sud-Atlantique houseflag]     [Sud-Atlantique houseflag]

House flags of Compagnie Sud-Atlantique
Left, flag used 1911-1931 - Image by Jarig Bakker, 12 February 2005
Right, flag used 1931-1962 - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 January 2005

Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique was created in 1911, in relation to the shipyard of La Ciotat, then specialized in the building of high-category liners.
The company was placed in 1914 under the control of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and was taken over two years later by Chargeurs Réunis. It operated state-owned liners on lines to South America.

In 1933, MS Atlantique, the flagship of the company was lost in a blaze. She was replaced by MS Pasteur, built in the Penhoët shipyard, in Brittany. The Pasteur was launched on 15 February 1938. The inauguration cruise of the Pasteur was scheduled for September 1939. The President of Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique asked the French post to release a commemorative postage stamp representing the liner. In the middle of August 1939, 4 millions stamps were produced. However, the cruise was cancelled because of the declaration of war on 2 September 1939. On 2 June 1940, the Pasteur left Landévennec, near Brest, for Halifax (Canada), carrying 200 tons of gold. The ship was seized by Britain on 4 July 1940 and given back to France on 16 April 1946. She was used for the transport of troops during the War of Indochina. On 9 June 1980, the Pasteur was lost in the Indian Ocean on her way to scrap in Taiwan.
The stamp sheets remained unreleased until 1941. Admiral Darlan, State Secretary of the Navy in the Vichy Government, obtained the release of the stamp, whose face value was modified. The original value (70 centimes) was suppressed with two horrizontal red lines, whereas the new value 1 F + 1 F was added in red. The 1 F surcharge was retroceded to the Service Central des Oeuvres de la Marine. The "new" postage stamp was inaugurated by Marshal Pétain in the lounges of Hôtel France et Pasteur in Vichy. A few, rare copies of the stamp lack the surcharge and are therefore highly valued. Since it is quite easy to remove the surcharge by a chemical treatment, it is highly recomended to consult an expert before purchasing a "surcharge-free" Pasteur stamp.

In 1957, the Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique operated only two ships. It lowered its flag in 1962.


According to Jean Randier, the first house flag of the Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique was blue with a white diamond charged with a red rooster, as shown for instance on Brown's Flags and Funnels [wed26]. In 1931, the rooster was replaced by a red ring.

Ivan Sache & Jarig Bakker, 12 February 2005