Starol began in 2010, distributing Shell lubricants to auto spare parts wholesalers. Very soon Castrol and Total came on board so that wholesalers could buy all the A-brands from one company. Starol has grown to be the market leader in the sector in The Netherlands and Belgium.
Some years ago, the big oil companies opted to do business with fewer partners, creating space for new, dedicated distributors. Robert Streppel of Starol sprung into that space as an oil distributor for A-brands (Shell, Castol, Total). So how did he manage to break into the market and become, for instance, Ambasador Distributor for Castol? Robert Streppel: “The wholesalers sometimes need only a litre of oil and many oil traders find that awkward. I saw a chance. With a focus on spare parts wholesalers, I concentrated only on A-brands and specifically on oil, lubricants and coolants. Thanks to smart IT systems we can deliver this quickly with a small team and thus low overheads”.
From bulk to small packaging
It is easy for anyone to find the right oil for a car because of links to licence plates. That makes it easier to sell. Because there is a growing number of different motor oils, some even specific to a type of motor, the market has shifted from bulk oil to small packaging. That has strengthened the position of spare parts wholesalers, which now often supply small (5lt.) packaging to garages along with the spare parts. Starol’s annual turnover is about 5 million litres of oil. Much of it is for The Netherlands and Belgium although indirectly (via Dutch distributors) the oil goes to almost every continent in the world.
Growth in spite of electric cars
Starol anticipated the shift to electric cars. Robert therefore set up two sister companies, one specialising in the two-wheel sector and the other the shipping industry. The latter, Protex Oil (taken over in 2019) is growing very fast. It supplies shipping centres in the port of Rotterdam which serve small companies of coasters. Robert is proud of the reputation Protex Oil has built up in Rotterdam in just a short time: “We often hear ‘phone Protex and it will be OK’”. Starol has grown
considerably year on year and in the foreseeable future that trend is expected to continue.
Starol | Robert Streppel