Q&A Feature: Van der Vlist Transport Group
Answers from Neil Keeping, Business Development manager of Van der Vlist transport Group.
Most logistics companies have set rules and conduct on how to manage the process of moving palletised freight- is this still the case with heavy/unusual loads? Or do Van der Vlist manage things on a more individual basis? –
Out of gauge, abnormal load, and special transport – the name says it all. What we do is move cargo that is different to standard freight. The type of cargo we move does require individual and special attention, there is no ‘one product or solution fits all’ approach.
By analysing the type of cargo, pick up and drop off points and the dimensions, we would make a judgment on the type of vehicle we would use, routings along with permit and escort requirements if necessary.
We may decide on using standard, flat, semi’s or low loaders, or, if the length, width or height makes the cargo particularly awkward, we may utilise our modular trailers.
Of equal importance is the routing. Legal restrictions vary from country to country. For example, no abnormal loads can be routed via the French motorway network or with Holland and Germany the combined vehicle and cargo height can be no more than 4.35 M due to tunnel and bridge restrictions.
Restrictions can also be imposed by port and ferry operators due to access dimensions. Due to the complexity and regional variations, we have offices throughout Europe to provide specialist knowledge and advice.
What is the most unusual load you have seen being transported?
My particular favourite movement was last year where we moved a 1971 Fokker F27 airplane at Schipol Airport. It was placed as a memorial on site so needed to be moved on a trailer as it couldn’t move under its own power.
Other interesting items that we are involved in moving are military vehicles, trains and trams, sculptures and statues and oddly enough, Robin van Persie’s Porche Cayenne!
What are the current trends and topics regarding large products within the supply chain?
From a supply chain perspective, some of the most common out of gauge movements are for mobile equipment such as excavators and dump trucks. This type of equipment is extremely important for us as we perform a number of tasks for some of the major manufacturers.
We provide multimodal transport solutions via our logistics division to bring machines, parts and accessories into Europe, we then utilise our special and heavy transport department to move the equipment to our facilities where we offer storage and stock control.
Once at our secure facilities, we then provide assembly, modification, painting and pre-delivery inspections via Van der Vlist Technical Services prior to final delivery again using our transport and logistics divisions.
Other industry sectors that are particularly important to us as a business are oil and gas, energy production in all its forms and process plant and equipment.
What makes your company different from competitors?
Van der Vlist are able to offer a complete worldwide logistical package for the heavy lift industry. Our 6 business activities are inter-related to complement each other allowing us to provide a solution for heavy lift challenges from 10 – 150 ton.
We have technical staff, project engineers, port and storage facilities and worldwide partners to assist with shipping, barging, rail and air freight. By having experts available across our 6 fields of activity, we are able to provide a high quality response to our client’s problems.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.