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Delmas (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2004-07-10 by ivan sache
Keywords: delmas | wheel (white) | letters: dv (white) |
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[Delmas house flag]by Jorge Candeias

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Presentation of Delmas

Delmas was founded in 1867 in the port city of La Rochelle. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, La Rochelle was in the past a Protestant fortress, which was besieged by cardinal de Richelieu, on Louis XIII's behalf, and toughly defended by the mayor-shipowner Jean Guiton in 1627-1628. Dynasties of Protestant shipowners were common in La Rochelle, but also in Le Havre and Marseilles (for instance, Fraissinet).

Delmas built a coal factory in 1881 and a shipyard in 1922. The first Delmas shipping line was opened in 1925 and mostly used to transport gabbon mahogany wood from Gabon to La Rochelle. Gabbon wood was used to make boxes to keep the locally produced butter and cheese.

The company was then called Delmas Frères. Léonce Vieljeux (1865-1944) married Helène Delmas and was hired by the Delmas Frères company. He was appointed president of the company, which was renamed Delmas-Vieljeux.
Vieljeux was elected mayor of La Rochelle in 1930 and reelected in 1935. On 23 June 1940, he refused to obey a German lieutnant who had ordered him to hoist the Nazi flag over the city hall, saying he was a colonel and could not receive orders from a lieutnant, even from a winning army. This was the first civil resistance act recorded in La Rochelle. Vieljeux refused to display the propaganda of the puppet French State in the city and was dismissed and expelled from the city. He came back secretely to La Rochelle in 1941 and helped to organize the Alliance Resistance network on the grounds of the company. Vieljeux was arrested in 1944 and shot in the concentration camp of Struthof.

After the war, the company specialized in North-South (that is Europe-Africa) service. In 1996, Bolloré raided Delmas, then called SDV (SCAC-Delmas-Vieljeux), in a very hostile way, and incorporated it.
Delmas operates today 60 ships on six scheduled lines and a lot of trucks. The company is still the first operator in the world on North-South service.


Ivan Sache, 17 December 2003

Description of the flag of Delmas

The flag of Delmas is light blue with a white wheel in the middle.

Ivan Sache, 17 December 2003

Former flag of Delmas-Vieljeux

[Delmas house flag]by Jorge Candeias

The current flag is derived from the the formerDelmas-Vieljeux houseflag, which is similar but with the white letters V and D flanking the steerwheel. This flag is shown on a poster by Sandy Hook advertizing the Medea liner, c. 1920.

"Sandy Hook" is the pseudonym of the painter Georges Taboureau (1879-1960), who was appointed peintre officiel de la marine (official painter of the French Navy) in 1947. His oeuvre is entirely maritime, and he is famous for his shipping line posters and illustrations to the Journal de la Marine Marchande (Review of the Merchant Navy).

Jan Mertens, 15 December 2004

Flag with a darker shade of blue

[Delmas house flag]by Jorge Candeias

The flag of Delmas, as consistently shown in Carga e Transportes (Cargo and Transportation), the Monday's supplement to the Portuguese newspaper Publico, has a darker blue field. That might mean that the shade is not all that well-defined, or at least that they don't mind using a darker blue if they find it convenient for marketing purposes.

Jorge Candeias, 17 December 2003

Delmas probably don't mind using variations of the logotype. Some of the trucks and containers of the company are painted white with the blue loogtype, that is the house flag with inverted colours.

Ivan Sache, 18 December 2003