Greenhouses are being constructed all over the world, and components such as climate control systems, screen installations and LED lighting are shipped all over the place. It's a great development for the greenhouse horticulture sector, but with it comes a number of challenges. For shipping all the different materials needed for the new greenhouse or the new installation on time and at the right price to all possible continents, logistics become very important. "The value of good logistics and transport often only becomes visible once it has gone wrong," says Victor Wever, Managing Director at Allport Netherlands.
Allport Netherlands, logistics agent for air and ocean freight, has been operating in the Netherlands since 2012, when Victor Wever started a joint venture with John Lau of Chinese Cargo Services. "From my background in the logistics sector I brought know-how of the local market and my network in the greenhouse horticulture sector, while Cargo Services brought in a worldwide network with offices in more than 30 countries and a very extensive network of offices in China. More than 5,000 people work at Allport Cargo Services worldwide", Victor explains.
His background combined with the horticultural growth, ensures the company's activities in the horticultural market. "We can often tell by the orders we get where there is growth in the greenhouse horticulture sector. Canada, China and Mexico are countries in which currently a lot is going on within greenhouse horticulture. It soon became clear that it's not just greenhouses that use our services. That is why we recently changed the name of our greenhouse horticulture branch from Allport Greenhouse Logistics to Allport Horti Logistics. We can also help suppliers in the process from port to cultivation site."
Real-time tracking and tracing saves money
In the Netherlands, Allport Netherlands has branches in Rotterdam and Nieuw-Vennep, both close to the port and the airport. "We arrange logistics and transport from A to Z. This includes paperwork for customs, but also meticulous monitoring of the containers and the provision of after-transport service on location. We take care of the entire logistical chain with an eye for detail."
With a special tracking system, tailor-made for each project, shipments can be tracked in real time. And that is not just a nice feature, Victor explains. "In our digital platform we import all data and documents about the freight and ensure that everything remains up-to-date. Our team of specialists takes care of this. Anyone who has been granted access to a particular project will receive an automatic e-mail notification whenever a change occurs. This way, it can be taken into account at the construction site. But even if containers remain on the quay for too long on location, a notification will be issued to prevent holding fees. The greenhouse builder or supplier has better use of his time than to constantly monitor that."
Horti Logistics: more than just greenhouses
But it's certainly not just IT and tracking and tracing that Allport Netherlands does. "In Australia, very strict quarantine rules apply. When, for example, glazing machines need to be shipped there, we ensure that they're completely clean. Not by doing it ourselves like we used to do, but by arranging professional cleaning."
This is all possible thanks to the growth that Allport Netherlands experienced in the seven years it's been around. "We have grown from nothing to about 30 employees and we continue to grow, on average about twenty percent per year across the different sectors. I of course don't want to brag, but this success is only possible if you have satisfied customers. There isn't much time for looking back, because before you know there's a new project and it's important to deliver all necessary materials as quickly and efficiently as possible on location. You are only as good as your last job."
He concludes: "People appreciate it when a silent operation operating in the background ensures a proper, complete handling of transport and logistics. With our Allport Horti Logistics division we try to deliver this service to a sector that's growing globally now."
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