"There is an excessive amount of shapes and sizes of plant trays in our sector, that growers and traders in particular have to confront on a daily basis. The load rate is getting worse and stocks are rising through the roof. The problem is also increasing in size, rather than shrinking." This was said by Frans Timmermans of Dutch plant import-export company Timmermans & Zonen.

He says that building a CC container, consisting of various products, with an optimal load grade is becoming more and more of a puzzle. "The problem is there is no standardisation in our sector. In contrast to for instance the logistics sector, where standardisation is the key word."

"The amount and diversity of trays has grown hugely over the last 20 years, and this has various causes. An obvious one is the (conscious) deviation from an existing pot size, which leads to a new tray for this pot. But this isn't the main reason. The problem is that anyone is free to bring a new tray with unique measurements into circulation again. It's a free market after all. This leads to there being trays that fit onto a shelf by 4, 5, 6, 7 or 9 pieces. The grower chooses a tray that suits their pot size and unit size, and the Normpack certification will come. Keep an eye on the website: approval is frequently given to bring another new tray into circulation."

"Distributing day trade, puzzling with trays will become your speciality," says Timmermans. "But this plethora of trays is just costing money. Transport is an important part of the cost. If we want to transport the product from the grower as efficiently as possible as far as the cost per container is concerned, we will have to strive for optimally loaded containers." The excess is also leading to a huge amount of plastic trays and the bad loading to a bad carbon footprint. "We can't close our eyes to this anymore in this day and age."
But who takes up arms, who will take action? "We shouldn't expect it from the packaging producers, as they reason from a market point of view. Think of VGB, but they like to lay low. Maybe Royal FloraHolland, as the large umbrella organisation within our sector could come up with some initiatives. But most important: it is a concern for everyone in our sector, which is why we have to take action together."

For more information:
Frans Timmermans, W. Timmermans & Zn.
T: 0416691391
E: romy@wtimmermans.nl