DHL Global Forwarding recently inaugurated its new warehouse and headquarters at Schiphol. Many customers and associates attended the grand opening. "Many of our clients had already visited, and most of those who didn't attend had signed up for a private tour," begins Ivo Koopmans, DHL Global Forwarding's Head of Cool Chain.
"The new state-of-the-art facility is equipped for the future and was enthusiastically received. With this new Perishables setup, we're elevating our customers' products cold chain even higher." The day after the opening, employees could show off their new workplace to their families during a family day.
Special Perishables section of 1,300 m2
The 23,000 m2 warehouse has 38 docks, two of which have 20-foot docklifts. There are areas with special facilities for storing hazardous substances, temperature-controlled perishables, and life science goods. The new building has a modern 3,600 m2 office space that serves as DHL Global Forwarding's headquarters in the Netherlands.
The special Perishables section has an area of 1,300 m2. "All work is done in temperature-controlled areas, equipped with 24/7 temperature monitoring and redundancy solutions. There are no more cross-movements with other divisions, so the cold chain is completely closed," says Ivo.
Construction went according to plan, and in the coming weeks, the last activities will move from the old site nearby, where the company was for almost 30 years. The Perishables department will be one of the last to relocate during the weekend of February 17/18. The new location is at SEGRO Park Amsterdam Airport, next to the airport.
"Being near Schiphol makes us the gateway to Europe." Sustainability was a key focus in the new building. "We built it according to all (Sustainability) Breeam Excellent Standards; it has 6,000 solar panels on the roof and is completely gas-free. The entire building is also 100% cradle-to-cradle, so if it's ever demolished, you can reuse everything," Ivo explains.
"The new building lets us offer fully temperature-controlled, customer-specific solutions for both import and export. Our growing global perishables air and sea freight network means we can provide more end-to-end solutions. For a long time, flown-in soft fruit was a market where we were only active on a small scale."
"That was due to our former setup's limitations, but now, we can perfectly align our services here, too. Also, the company is heavily focusing on flower and plant transportation. Destinations like Singapore and Bahrain are significant growth markets for us," says Koopmans.
The Red Sea situation has had little impact on air freight. "We're currently in many talks with airlines in the run-up to the summer season that starts on April 1, but we're not yet noticing any effect on the destinations where we're active. That, obviously, depends very much on the origin and destination," Ivo points out.
For his colleague and Reefer Manager Mario Volkers, these events are a daily reality. "The transport of several shipments stopped because the transit times simply became too long. These issues are hiking rates significantly. People are opting for certainty and are sticking with their regular service providers, a trend we also saw during the pandemic," he says.
Growing reefer network
"The growing reefer network greatly benefits our Ocean Freight department. We're growing rapidly in imports from South America and keep employing new staff. That enables us to serve our customers optimally, rates and service-wise. That local presence genuinely works. By working with native speakers, but above all, with short lines, you build trust, both commercially and operationally."
"People don't want to get stuck dialing numbers; they need direct contact. It also sometimes surprised me to hear that people depend on shipping companies' track-and-trace or Portbase for their information. With us, customers have all information directly available," Mario explains.
The year has started well for DHL Global Forwarding; it received the Top Employer Award 2024 on January 18. "As such, we're recognized for our commitment to creating a challenging, inclusive, inspiring work environment for all our employees, thus meeting our HR policy's highest standards. We're proud of this achievement and continuously strive to improve and innovate regarding employment. We look forward to building a successful future along with our employees and clients," Mario concludes.
DHL Global Forwarding is an exhibitor at Fruit Logistica in Berlin: Hall 25-A23