"The action radius of electric trucks for international transport is simply inadequate now and not yet a suitable alternative. But we believe that this technology and also hydrogen will be a good alternative to fossil fuel within a few years. We therefore believe that the use of a combination of powertrains, combined with modal shift, is a path for the future."
Mandersloot specializes in logistics services and conditioned transport to or from the Benelux to Central Europe. Henri Groothuis is Operations Manager and talks about recent investments to make operations more sustainable. "As a logistics service provider, we are aware that we have a considerable impact on the environment. That's why we also think we should invest to reduce our footprint."
Thus, in addition to new generations of refrigerated trucks, we have recently invested in LNG (Liquefield Natural Gas) cars. Henri: "With a full tank, we can drive up to 900 kilometers. This makes the fuel suitable for heavy transport over long distances. We now have 12 of these cars driving around internationally." Besides the LNG cars, Henri sees other opportunities in the area of sustainability. "Moving completely away from fossil fuels is one thing, but that's not so easy for the short term. In many cases, it is still far in the future and depends on technological developments and charging infrastructure. LNG is a great alternative for us now, but we can do so many other sustainable things. Consider, for instance, the wider use of LZV trucks, the longer and heavier freight combination, across Europe based on equivalent regulations. We have been using these for years in the Netherlands and also for a short period in the Czech Republic. Instead of the standard 13.20 load meters, there is now room for 21 load meters. Which, of course, contributes to sustainability and efficiency."
The desire to become more sustainable combined with the ever-rising costs and high demand for drivers means Mandersloot is also looking further afield at alternative modes of transport. Rail transport could be a future solution for Mandersloot. "The first flowers and plants have already been transported to Poland by train. This was a pilot, so the beginning is there. However, a lot still needs to be done before this can be a serious alternative. Transporting fresh products by rail is not easy, and it still takes too long at the moment to get the products to their destination. The whole chain will have to move and change with this. Nevertheless, we will remain involved and follow developments closely because, ultimately, it is a more sustainable mode of transport that may offer us an additional option in the future."
Company locations and paperless
Mandersloot operates from several locations: The Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. In Scherpenzeel, the company has now installed a roof full of solar panels. All lighting on and around the premises has also been replaced with LED lighting. Henri: "It is only a matter of time before we install solar panels at our other locations, where possible. However, this is increasingly complicated by the problems with energy infrastructure and the transition Europe is in the middle of."
Another short-term ambition of Mandersloot is to become paperless. "The first step towards this is the digital CMR, the E-CMR, as a replacement for the paper consignment note. We are preparing to set it up so that, if customers don't do it themselves, we will arrange it for them. There is simply no reason not to do it. Again, the chain will have to change, and the regulations in Europe are equivalent."
According to Henri, there is still much to gain in the coming years. The family business eventually wants to become 'CO2 neutral'. Henri: "Using BigMile, we have made our carbon footprint transparent, which we want to reduce further. This is in the broadest sense of the word. So we are also looking at waste streams: separating and recycling them."
One of the biggest challenges for Mandersloot is that alternative fuels and modes of transport are not always sufficient to reduce your footprint now. The commercial interest will have to be made even greater because efficiency is under pressure when these options are commissioned. "You can get or make buildings energy neutral yourself. That is feasible, and you achieve it by investing in your buildings. Only for the transport-related part do you depend to a fairly large extent on the sector, the customer, software solutions, and developments."
2nd Lean & Green Star
In March 2023, Mandersloot became a participant in the Lean & Green program. The company is motivated to continue on the sustainable path and, participating in the Lean & Green program, actively seeks new opportunities for CO2 reduction. Investments in solar energy, research into e-truck opportunities, annual fleet renewal, and the development of a Mandersloot Academy (where training and guidance is provided for their staff) will be on Mandersloot's agenda in the near future.