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Should companies do their own transportation?

Many, if not most, growers of fresh produce allot transportation of their crops to logistical services. Some of them however, try to run the logistics themselves. Marcel van Eeuwijk of Aqui Fruit & Greens in Venlo, Holland explains why he thinks doing your own transportation is not a good idea. “Of all the companies handling their own logistics in the past 25 years, 80% is out of business. People underestimate the costs. We used to do our own transference, but learned it wasn’t feasible during slow months, when your trucks are just standing there. Also, you bear all the risks of shipping yourself. If one truck is 3 hours late, you have to have another on standby.”

“But perhaps it’s easy for us to say, because we’re on just a marvellous location. We’re close to the border, on a busy traffic junction with produce going in all directions. Most of our customers, a lot of them from Germany, visit us themselves. All we have to do is load up their trucks.” The trader admits: “If you’re out there in [remote provinces like] Groningen or Zeeland, you’ll probably need to do your own transportation.”

Trader Frank Apotheker of Apotheker Wholesale is, in fact, located in Groningen. And yes, he is doing his own shipping. “We ship about 90% ourselves,” he confirms. “We’re on the road from dawn till dusk.”

Frank claims filling up the truck is no problem whatsoever. “The orders make up 25 to 50% of a shipment. The rest is filled up with casks. During summer, when it’s really busy, we tend to delegate some of the work. But to us, it really pays to have our own trucks. People don’t just head over to Groningen to pick up a pallet. A cargo of oranges from the port is no problem, but five pallets in Tholen and three in Breda is a different story. Then hiring transportation is so expensive that you might as well do it yourself.”


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