Maria de Frel

Road Transportation

Maria has worked at Thermotraffic for over 20 years. As an experienced Forwarder, she sometimes receives offers to work elsewhere, but simply ignores them. 

I started working at Thermotraffic when I was 17 after finishing secondary school. It was my first real job. Before that, I worked for a small salary processing company for a short time, but when they moved to Amsterdam I joined Thermotraffic.

I am a Forwarder for road transport in the form of refrigerated trucks, across Europe and beyond. We arrange for goods to be driven from the cold store to the customer. Our team consists of nine people and we make sure that we are all aware of what is going on so that we can take over each other’s work. Nobody has their own customers. In addition to the ongoing work I also handle some of the administration.

The Forwarding role

Forwarding involves acting as an intermediate station between our customers and the transporters. We do not own any trucks ourselves. If we receive an order from a customer to transport something from A to B, we send the order to the transporter, which carries it out for us. Our department only handles road transport, with ocean and air handled by other departments.

The job has become much more digital over time and many transporters have a web portal where we can access information. I have to say that we still make a lot of phone calls, but I don’t mind that because I like regular and personal contact with transporters and customers.

Above all, we are always thinking about our customers. For instance, if a customer’s normal storage capacity is not available for some reason, we will find another solution for them within our extensive network of storage options.

Every day is different

You never know what will cross your path each day and that makes the job endlessly interesting. For instance, Brexit has brought some additional challenges so that is something new.

The bond you have with some customers leads them to look at us more favourably, and they appreciate the service they get from us. It often helps us when it comes to tenders because customers look at the whole package, not just the price. So, we often win on the quality of our offer, although of course we also aim to be competitive in terms of price.

A great place to work

I really like the team and the atmosphere, which is very informal and friendly. Most of us have worked here for a long time and it’s like a family. We have a lot of contact with colleagues in Antwerp and Venlo, and constant interaction with the UK via e-mail and phone.

Everything is very well organized in terms of salary and processes and the company makes it possible to take courses. I took a Transport Planning course.

I have never felt the need to leave. I sometimes receive messages via LinkedIn with an offer for another job. But I don’t even look at them and I am certainly not looking for another job.

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