‘Standing still is moving backward', Dutch transportation business owner Dirk Veldhuis, who died in 2021, used to say. His daughter Natascha has taken that to heart. She and co-owner Mario Groot - who, after years in the transport business, joined the company in May 2022 - run Veldhuis Logistics, which now has 30 permanent trucks and a large pool of charters. "We just keep growing and expect that trend to continue this year," begins Natascha.
“It's usually somewhat harder to get trips in the winter. That's especially true this year since the season just won't break. Still, we can't complain. The season hasn't really started, and yet we don't have any idle trucks." She cites things like communication with the charters as a reason for their growth. "We run very hard for our charters and ensure we have it all right. The same goes for our customers. Whether we must provide transportation of one pallet or ten loads, almost anything is possible," Natascha explains.
Veldhuis Logistics is purely focused on fruit and vegetable transport, primarily to and from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, France, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. "Since Brexit, transport to England has become a lot more difficult. Not every driver can enter that country. There's a whole heap of paperwork involved." Veldhuis, however, did not set up a special Brexit department. "The five of us do the admin, so we do it all together," Natascha says.
“There have been some shifts in transport rates. I think we could still keep the increases for our clients fairly contained. But we had to do something about them, though. Otherwise, you can't survive." LNG, electric driving, or hydrogen developments are not yet an alternative for the transport company. "We had a charter with a big project to run on gas, but that was shut down because the high gas prices made it unprofitable," says Veldhuis.
There is still plenty of competition in the transport market. "Recently, a large European service provider started another operation in Poland. You notice that in the market. Still, we think we can continue distinguishing ourselves. Many companies lack experience or are too big and, therefore, too unwieldy, which means they cannot work as efficiently. Our experience means we know what companies need and can truly unburden them, as we should."
Attracting drivers remains challenging. "Buying vehicles isn't hard, but you have to have drivers. We used to have many Ukrainian drivers, but, of course, since the war, most have returned to Ukraine. It remains challenging, but we can't complain. With 30 trailers within four years, there's no reason. We keep to my father's motto," Natascha concludes.
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