Shipping agent Milestone Fresh has grown significantly in recent years. “But we became big by staying small,” Peter van der Klift emphasises. “In shipping, people make all the difference. We naturally also work with computers, and most processes have been automated, but we don’t lose sight of our actual added value, which comes from our service and our people. Our customers have one contact within our company, and that’s very much appreciated.”
New office at Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands.
In 2012, the sea cargo department of Milestone Fresh was founded, specifically for the perishable market. While volume remained limited to 2,000 TEU per year during its first year, by 2017 volume had grown to 20,000 TEU, and a volume of 28,000 TEU is expected for this year. In 2015, the air cargo department was founded, and the volume of 303,000 kilos in its first year rose to more than 3,250,000 kilos in 2017, and this year a total air cargo volume of 4,500,000 kilos is expected.
This summer, Milestone Fresh opens a new air cargo location in Rozenburg, near Schiphol Airport. “In our previous building we had one cooling cell, but now we’ll also have three quarantine spaces. At this new location, we can also unload and inspect containers in addition to incoming and outgoing air cargo shipments. This ensures additional flexibility and focus on quality and speed,” Peter says.
Milestone Fresh was founded in 2015 with its own Costa Rican office to get a better handle on the melon, pineapple and mango flows. Both suppliers and Dutch customers appreciate this presence on site, and the strategy was further implemented with their own offices in Honduras, Guatemala and Thailand in 2017. “It went quickly,” the shipping agent says. “As a smaller agent, we don’t have the purchasing power of global network shipping agents, so we have to fight for our margins. Prices are naturally an important tool, but knowledge of markets and customers so that we can meet customers’ needs are even more important.”
“We now take care of supply chains for more and more renowned businesses with enormously diverse products. From strawberries to melons or flowers or plants. Taking care of shipments door-to-door by taking complete responsibility for the supply chain is our speciality. Besides air and sea cargo shipping, we also combine air and sea transport in one combined sea-air service. This way customers profit from the best of both worlds, because it’s more interesting regarding costs than air cargo, and it’s faster than sea cargo.”
Co van Es and Peter van der Klift.