“We bet on the right horse”
There are business units which, after strategic consideration, are positioned globally – such as Agility’s ‘nutrition competence centre’ (NCC). Patrick Jäger, Patrick Rodenburg and Vincenzo Campana gave Christian Doepgen an insight.
Why is the foods unit special for Agility?
Patrick Jäger: Five years ago, we at Agility Logistics decided to strategically bundle our foods division in what we called our ‘nutrition competence centre’ (NCC). This entailed making targeted investments in internal and external software solutions, in staff training and in partnerships. We’ve thus centralised our business with globally-active shippers in the foods sector in Basel (Switzerland).
Can you give us tonnage or sales figures for the rather difficult H1 / 2020?
Patrick Rodenburg: In H1 / 2020 we handled 3749 consignments weighing 43,000 t in sea freight alone, 21,000 consignments weighing 30,000 t on the roads and 170 consignments weighing 500 t by air – despite the special circumstances.
“We’ve observed an increase in volumes, for example for coffee, wine imports or in the low-price segment. In view of the current situation we can safely say that we bet on the right horse.
Where do you see additional potential?
PR: We see opportunities in the transport of temperature-controlled packaged goods in the refrigerated and deep-freeze segment. We want to further drive our activities forward in this market.
Have you acquired or are striving for certificates, such as IFS Logistics, or similar?
Vincenzo Campana: We have three ISO certificates, including ISO 22 000 : 2018 for food safety. One of our strategic goals is to acquire the ‘IFS Logistics’ standard for our foods sector. But our most important resource are our 22 trained employees.
How do you ensure your partners’ quality?
VC: We work with set standards and processes, on the one hand, and ongoing qualification procedures on the other. These include joint risk analysis in day-to-day business (HACCP), adaptation of processes, and regular audits, which we are currently carrying out digitally. Evidence can also be produced visually.
What have you learnt as a Tapa member?
VC: Tapa Emea’s reports show that foods are ranked as thieves’ third-favourite booty. Hotspots include the United Kingdom, the Benelux region and Portugal. In the interaction between storage and transport, we also create safety by providing intensive training options for our employees, amongst other things. This activity is certainly one of our strengths.
Have you managed to acquire any new customers recently?
PR: Currently, many tenders are being put on hold. However, we have noticed that existing customers are expanding, amongst other things due to our partnership with a cold store in the port of Antwerp, which has only been operational for two years. Since then we’ve been able to cover the entire supply chain and are now even closer to the goods. In 2019, no less than 800 reefer containers were shipped through this facility.
What are your overall conclusions after five years of NCC?
PJ: It’s been worthwhile to make this effort to build up this division. Even in these times of Covid-19 we’ve been robust – that’s to say we’re working overtime and not short-time. Customers appreciate the NCC’s full-service character and our multimodal range of products. And there’s hardly any fluctuation amongst employees, by the way – they’re proud to be part of the team.