At the beginning of April, VMP started operating from its new location in the Dutch town of Poeldijk. "The season began in April in Holland. This means we got off to a good start. We have grown significantly in the UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia. We also quickly found two or three partners. They are using our additional storage and transshipment space. So, the warehouse also filled up rapidly", says VMP's Sales Director, Lennart Middelburg. "This extra service was a positive experience for our business partners. This included not only clients but also our suppliers and growers."
"During the season here in the Netherlands, we had to deal with very high temperatures at times. This was good for orders. However, it was sometimes less good for the farmers. At times, the plants had a hard time. We had to be extra alert with regard to quality. This is because we had to supply good products to our clients", Lennart says, looking back at the summer season. "About 40% of our business still revolves around getting products straight from the field to the client. In this way, we can coordinate with the farmer to meet the client's specific demands."
More fruit and citrus
"A lot of summer contracts drew to a close at the end of October. Now we have again switched completely to the winter season. We get daily loads from Spain and Morocco. Besides vegetables, we are also dealing more and more with fruit and citrus. Many of our clients buy complete packages. We have found a much better way to make this work. We can offer our clients an entirely mixed load at the right price and quality," explains Lennart.
"We import from various countries during the winter. Besides this, we also grow Dutch lit-cultivated tomatoes. This started with a small acreage three years ago. However, it continues to increase every year. At the beginning of next week, we are again expecting the first Dutch cherry tomatoes. These will go directly to our client", he continues.
"A large part of our trade is destined for the United Kingdom. So, we get a lot of questions about how we will handle Brexit. We have drawn up good agreements with our clients. However, for now, no one knows what is really going to happen. One thing is sure - the UK is still going to need many products from Europe", says Lennart.
"We also still have two clients in Russia. We have to fill in a lot of documents in order to trade with them. Added to this, we also send daily loads to Norway. Here, documents also need to be completed. So, we know our way around this issue", he says.
"In addition to our own trade, the storage and transshipment also went well this summer. As a result of this, last month we installed additional shelves. Now, we can store a total of close-on 1.000 pallets. To do so, we are looking for one or two partners for the coming months. All this growth means that Martin Djakov joined us last month. He is part of our sales team. We can now address the needs of our clients even better", concludes Lennart.