Helmer's storage, transshipment, and cross-docking clients will soon be served in new premises. This cold storage company's new building will be complete in the last quarter of 2021. Together with WDP, Helmer's constructing a new building. It's 100 meters from its current location in Breda, the Netherlands. Lizette Helmer with her mother at her side and her staff turned the first sod on 23 March. That was done in a festive, corona-proof manner at the press of a button. The build should be completed by the beginning of October.
The new refrigeration warehouse will cover an area of 12.000 m2. More than 70% of this will be air-conditioned. It also has 16 loading docks. "Our current building was becoming outdated. Renovating it would've required a substantial investment. And we want to move with the times. With the new building, we're immediately set for the future," says Lizette, who's been at this family business' helm for more than 20 years. The company itself is more than 50 years old. Naturally, it will remain operational during the new building.
An entirely different location was out of the question for her. "Many companies have already left this site. But we're not going anywhere. Logistically speaking, as a cross-dock location, we're perfectly placed here along the A16 [highway]. We store a lot of overseas trade. It comes into the country from the ports of Rotterdam, Vlissingen, and Antwerp. But a lot of trade from southern Europe is also offloaded here. It's to be shipped to places like Scandinavia or Eastern Europe."
The 2020 COVID-19 year was, indeed, unusual. "In other years, we often had long-term storage. But last year we hardly had the chance to do that. The turnover rate was very high. We store a huge variety of products," continues Helmer.
"They range from grapes to citrus, bananas, pomegranates, and nuts. We have an advanced refrigeration system. We can, therefore, store these products in all possible temperature ranges. But non-refrigerated storage is also possible."
Helmer doesn't only offer cross-docking, storage, and transshipment. Its clients have the option of repackaging or packing products in a variety of packaging. "We're a recognized customs location," adds Lizette. "And a BRC, Skal, and HACCP certified organization. As such, we're unique in Breda and the surrounding area. Our Skal certification means we meet the highest quality requirements. That's for storing organically grown fruit and vegetables. There's an increasing demand from that segment."
"Fruitful Office and Blue Holland currently rent space from us. They'll be relocating with us. We are in ongoing talks with other potential tenants too. The new building is large. So producers from, say, South Africa or South America might want to start a sales office here. They'll literally be on top of the trade and will be taken care of. We'll be able to help them in the future too. Of course, we're continually working on perfecting our service. So, by switching efficiently and quickly, we can ship products in no time," concludes Lizette.