The transportation industry faces a number of major challenges in the coming years. Nevertheless, Henri Verploegen of H.M. Verploegen from Wijchen is full of good cheer about the future. 'Shippers increasingly value good service and on-time delivery and are willing to pay a corresponding price for it. That certainly provides opportunities for our company," Verploegen said.
There is a growing demand for transport services from the market, but at the same time there is a shortage of drivers. In addition, rising fuel prices mean higher costs and transport companies find it difficult to obtain new or used equipment. Delivery times of one year are no exception.
'It is an unusual time for companies in the transport and logistics sector,' says Henri Verploegen. 'In recent years, logistics has been neglected by many producers and shippers. Customers mainly wanted their products to be delivered to their destination at the lowest possible cost. The margins were often razor thin. As a result, transport and logistics companies learned to be innovative so they could still earn something from their operations.’
That time, however, has passed. A turnaround in the market is on the way, says Verploegen. 'The importance of transport and logistics for society is becoming increasingly apparent. Shippers are noticing that the market is moving and that shortages are developing. They try to respond to that as well as they can. Because changing delivery times of goods can have consequences for their production processes. Increasingly, organizations are willing to spend more money on the transport if this ensures a timely delivery of their goods or raw materials. An opportunity for transport companies to use this to distinguish and profile themselves. The importance of good logistics is also recognized more by society.'
Investing in employees
At the same time, the current situation does worry him. 'More and more experienced drivers are retiring and very few young drivers are coming to take their place. In particular, the large number of hours that they are away from home scares many people off. One of the major challenges for our company in 2022 therefore will be to invest in employees. On one hand, to retain colleagues, but also to attract new employees. In addition we want to focus on further automation of our production processes and other innovations. Naturally with the aim of further expanding and growing our activities. This can be done in collaboration with partners as well as through autonomous growth.'
Another challenge for the transport sector, according to Verploegen, remains to further reduce CO2 emissions. 'More and more companies are going beyond just offsetting their emissions. We also try to get our freights from A to B as environmentally conscious as possible. Clarity and support from the government are essential in this. There must also be sufficient time to recoup our substantial investments.'
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