Road Transportation Your journey to a good career in transport

The cross-border transport of high value, temperature-controlled goods demands accurate planning and an understanding of every link in the process. Albert Hanszen, Transport Manager at our office in Rotterdam, provides an overview as to how Thermotraffic’s transport teams make it happen.

Thermotraffic’s business is built on containers. Not just the transport of the containers, but also the customs, transport and storage related of the goods in the containers. The Transport department is concerned with the transport element of that offering, more specifically transport planning. Essentially, we make sure that we get the container to the right place, at the right time, in accordance with the customer’s wishes.

The department is divided into container transport and road transport, which is often refrigerated. We have teams in Rotterdam, Antwerp and in the UK and we help each other out. For instance, we can switch truck capacity between Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Different tasks

There are a number of different functions in each department. Our forwarders are responsible for the refrigerated trucks. This involves cooperation with truck carriers and most of the work is tracking: has the carrier loaded, is the driver on time?

Besides that we have planners. We don’t plan in advance for the carriers we buy-in. But we have about 9 of our own drivers. We think of them as our trucks and we need to make sure that each of these drivers has enough trips in a week. To plan for that you need to know what the distances are. If we are sending a shipment to Hamburg tomorrow, what time does it have to leave here, what time can the inspection be scheduled for? And, of course, you have to take into account how many hours the guys can drive within a certain time span.

International flows

We manage two different flows. One is goods that are unloaded from containers and then go to our cold stores. The other is the containers that go elsewhere in the country, or to Germany, France, Belgium etc. We also provide transportation from our cold stores to a further destination. We then look for the right carrier for that, in the right price-quality.

Always on the ball

Picking up a container at a terminal now involves multiple systems with time locks. You can’t just wave a piece of paper anymore. You have to pre-register at the terminal. Are the documents in order? Is the container exempt? Although much of this can now be tracked using various and remote systems, it still has to be performed at every stage of the process.

It’s very important to keep a close eye on everything. You might work with a new carrier that doesn’t know they have to go through inspection before unloading. If that happens, the load will be returned to the country of origin and that’s a big problem. So, we properly instruct drivers who don’t usually drive for us. We also monitor the progress of loads very closely. If a carrier is an hour late, we call the customer before the customer calls us.

There is already more and more automation and the future will bring more electric driving. But that is still very expensive, including the installation for charging. We have always been committed to finding more sustainable solutions and our Japanese parent company Nichirei Corporation shares that ambition.

Your journey to a good career in transport

If you like the hustle and bustle of logistics, and if you can solve problems and react quickly to changing circumstances, you’ll like it here. Today is never the same as yesterday. There is an open working environment and colleagues have a good time together.

From the start you’ll do more at Thermotraffic than you do at other companies. Here, you deal with the inspection service and get to understand how the document flows work. Because we have the cold stores, you’ll see what happens there and how long their processes take. That helps you to plan the transport more effectively. Yes, you are a link in a whole chain, but at the same time you can see all the links and get a broader knowledge.

Right now, Thermotraffic is growing and becoming a genuinely large player in the industry. So, once you’ve worked as a planner for a couple of years there will be plenty of opportunities to do something else in the company.

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