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Ivo Koopmans and Mario Volkers, DHL Global Forwarding:

"People tend to think of DHL as a big company, but for us no shipment is too small"

When the first pile was struck on Thursday, October. 27, at DHL Global Forwarding's new location in the Netherlands, it was a true milestone for the logistics player. "We're looking forward to moving into our new premises at Schiphol," begins Ivo Koopmans.

"Of the 23,000 m2, 1,300 m2 will be dedicated to handling perishables. This new building will bring all the disciplines together. Also, we'll be able to perform all services under one roof but using separate cold rooms at any desired temperature. All in all, a dream will come true in the fourth quarter of next year."

Segro Nederland's Eelco Ouwerkerk (left) and DHL CEO Henk Venema (right) celebrating the new construction's commencement.

Ivo (pictured on the right) is responsible for perishable airfreight at DHL ACE (Advanced Coolchain Experience). Thanks to its global network, this division can guarantee a door-to-door logistical service.

"That network means we can guarantee entry at almost every European airport, either via our offices or with the help of partners," says Ivo.

According to him, each destination's air cargo export market situation varies greatly. "Generally, there's a high demand for perishable air freight. That's evident in this winter's airfreight contract orders."

Yet, destinations like Qatar remain challenging. "Almost all flights going there are full of FIFA-related cargo, which affects rates and capacity. Our charter solutions offer a solution in several destinations. We can offer more capacity and fixed rates. Customers love that certainty," Ivo explains.

Much improved reefer equipment availability
His colleague, Mario Volkers, who is responsible for sea freight at DHL, also sees clear differences in the market. "Sailings from South America are currently a particularly hot topic, and shipping companies have organized several additional routes. However, trade to and from Asia continues to lag."

"Conveniently, shipping line prices decrease nearly every week. In an earlier interview, I was fairly critical of the shipping lines. Relations have greatly improved since then. As both import and export opportunities have greatly increased, we can pass on the improved reefer equipment availability to our clients."

DHL has begun rolling out its activities in the South American reefer segment. "There, our company has a reefer desk in every country," continues Mario, "We will start with this later in Asia, followed by Europe, with Rotterdam right away as an important (transit) port. Lots of fruit enter or go through there. Meanwhile, our reefer services rollout continues to evolve further. For example, we recently opened reefer offices in the United Kingdom and South Africa."

"That undoubtedly advances our strategy. We want to unburden existing and potential import and export customers in countries of origin and destination countries. And that local presence really works. By working with native speakers, but above all, with short communication lines, you build a relationship of trust. That applies at both the commercial and operational levels. People don't want to get stuck dialing numbers; they need direct contact," Mario explains.

One stop shop
"DHL Global Forwarding's strength lies in that our air and sea freight solutions perfectly complement each other. Where there are opportunities, Ivo and I always highlight the other mode's possibilities. A perfect example was our large presence at Fruit Attraction in Madrid. DHL was present with some 30 colleagues from numerous countries, which let us promote our service range as a one-stop shop as widely as possible. That was very well received."

Ivo emphasizes that parties should not hesitate to approach DHL for out-of-the-box solutions, both for import and export. "Every day, we still notice that some companies see DHL as a big company and shy away from that. But no shipment is too small for us. The other day we were commissioned to handle a small shipment of bamboo shoots for Doha Zoo's pandas. We do that with as much pleasure as 24 pallets of vegetables," he concludes.

Left: The DHL ACE airfreight team. Right: DHL's stand at
Fruit Attraction

For more information
Ivo Koopmans / Mario Volkers
DHL Global Forwarding
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