In summer and winter there is a great need for fast, reliable and flexible refrigerated transport of seasonal fruits and vegetables. For more than 30 years, the Austrian Matzhold company has been active in this field, offering its customers a suitable transport solution for temperature-sensitive goods. Despite pinpoint registration of the cold chain through temperature recording devices, safety and the corresponding know-how, the company has to reckon with certain challenges even after more than 30 years of experience.
The Johannes Matzhold GesmbH sees itself as a complete company and has about 10 refrigerated vehicles for fresh transports. ''Our customers are relatively scattered and are found in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, among others. The market is very volatile, especially in the transport sector: a quarter of our transports, however, are fruit & vegetable shipments, and the lion's share goes to wholesale traders or directly to retail chains,'' says Christian Trabass, head of the refrigerated transport department.
Christian Trabass, head of the refrigerated transport department
Over the years, the company has specialized in the transport of temperature-sensitive fruits and vegetables: storage and cooling logistics is not part of their service. Nonetheless, there are still many challenges in today's transport environment: tolls and the lack of truck drivers are some of the delicate issues of today. ''Tolls are a constant throughout the year and we also have sufficient permanent staff in terms of workforce. We also work with foreign truck drivers, but only with Slovenians. In Austria we all have to pay the same rates. So there is no unfair competition. Furthermore, we have no vehicles abroad, except for Germany. We do not score with pricing and quantity, but with quality. We are reliable, always available and flexible. In my opinion, this is the reason why we are still in the market after more than 30 years.''
Challenges of the future
Since Trabass founded the independent refrigerated transport business more than 30 years ago, there have been some interesting developments. More accurate monitoring, payroll accounting via GPS and detailed tracking systems have become available. However, according to Trabass, little was done specifically around cooling. Because during transport, there are no proprietary cooling systems: ''That means, the goods must already be cooled. We can only keep the temperature steady during transport.''
A greater challenge, however, is reflected in today's infrastructure. ''In this country, in Austria, the situation is usually satisfactory, especially if we compare that with Germany. We notice that the infrastructure there in general is getting worse; only in Greater Berlin and Leipzig, the situation is still somewhat under control. Anyway, during planning we add at least 2 hours to every transport in Germany and I believe that these developments will lead to big problems in the future.''