Ten years ago Günther Maters started with Koeltrans Angeren. Over the last decade, branches in Germany and Romania have been added, their 100th truck has entered the fleet and in Bemmel they are busy opening the new building for September. "It has gone incredibly fast", the owner of the transport company looks back.
"We started in a bad time in 2010. We were in the middle of the financial crisis and many people were in trouble. Transporters also complained a lot. However, we started afresh and with a new automation system. That positive story caught on among customers. Then you start to grow and things come your way," says the transporter.
Koeltrans Angeren focuses on transporting vegetables, fruit, flowers and plants to and from Germany, both with complete loads and groupage transport. In addition, Günther is also director of the forwarding branch Trax, which is located in e-commerce-like logistics throughout Europe. "Every day, Trax has trucks driving to Milan, Paris, Madrid, Oslo and Malmö. For Koeltrans Angeren, there are about 120 cars on the road every day, for Trax another 110."
LNG and LHV
How did the company grow in this manner? "We try to be at the forefront and are in daily contact with our customers how we can do things better. We are making great strides in terms of sustainability. We have 12 LNG trucks and 6 LHVs in our fleet. I see eco-combinations as the next possibility to put on the map," says the transporter.
The anniversary takes place in a special time because of the Corona crisis. "We are happy that we can continue to work reasonably well. I am also proud of our heroes in the trucks, in the office and in the warehouse, which have ensured that the wheels continue to turn and the customers are maintained. We notice the impact in some sectors, for instance, we always transport a lot of exhibition materials, but that has now come to a complete standstill," says Günther. "Our biggest challenge now is the return freight. Of course you hope that you get the trucks back from Germany full otherwise you can just immediately return the profit at the end of the ride and you have done it all for nothing."
Thin line between profit and loss
When asked about the threats, the current situation is one of them, according to the transporter. "You are now asking yourself more than usual about what the world will look like for more than half a year. But at the same time, that can also offer opportunities. Competition will always remain, although the spoils in the fruit and vegetable and floricultural transport are pretty much divided up. This is why you see more and more cooperation between transporters and I am a big supporter of that. We are in a mega marginal business together. The line between profit and loss is very thin. Then it is better to work together than every man for himself. Alone you can do something, together you can do everything! "
"In the past, in the Netherlands, we were the go-to transport country. Under pressure from foreign carriers, the world has taken a different view. And of course we feel the pressure from, for example, a carrier from Lithuania. The rates have actually already been under pressure from the beginning of the year. You notice that a bit of overcapacity has arisen, which is not good for the market, but that is one reason to seek cooperation and to deal with it intelligently. "
Young drivers in the making
Finding drivers has never really been a problem in the 10-year history of Koeltrans Angeren. "We have the advantage that we are located in Bemmel and are the only ones in the region that drive fruit and vegetables to Germany, which would be different in the Westland, for example. But we still receive many requests. Many of the guys start around age fifteen working in the warehouse or in the car wash, which is how we train young drivers. Planners are lot more difficult to find."
"On the one hand I am very proud of the past ten years, on the other it is a special and uncertain time. But we aim to see the future in a positive way. In the past period, 25 new trucks have been delivered here. It is possible we might double again, I would never have dared to say that ten years ago. It is not an end in itself, but we are not going to stop it."