We take it for granted that there is fruit and vegetables in our stores, but how do they get here? Some who know are Tempcon’s subsidiary Berneco Transport, which since 1993 has transported fruit and vegetables from, above all, the Netherlands to Sweden. Every day, all year round, they make the impossible possible. To plan the loads in just a few hours, load and transport them to Helsingborg for unloading. How does it happen?
Berneco Transport is today the only Swedish player in a market that is largely dominated by Dutch hauliers and freight forwarders. What sets Berneco apart from many others is that they work with a large number of customers, from the really small to the really large. They are known for their service, their flexibility and their fast, proactive communication with both drivers and customers.
On a normal day when you get to work at Berneco, you do not know if there are 200 or 500 pallets to be transported to Sweden on that particular day. Statistics from previous years and taking into account holidays and celebrations together with the employees’ long experience are still the basis for managing the flows. The five who work with traffic at Berneco together have over 120 years of experience within Berneco’s walls.
At 12, the deadline is for those customers who rarely have items in excess of 10 pallets. Then you can start the work of loading the vehicles and start getting them rolling. Shortly afterwards, at 12.30, it is then the deadline for the big posts and now a feverish activity breaks out. A person loads the vehicles based on a number of parameters such as weight of the goods, temperature requirements, loading times, route planning and driving and rest times. Another contacts the shippers, the places where to load, to double check that loading times and freight volumes match the information they have received. This is extremely important as the time frames are very tight and the cars do not have to stand and wait anywhere to catch up.
The rough planning is finished by 3 pm and most vehicles then have seven to eight places to load this time of the year when the posts are a little bigger. Then it is not entirely uncommon for there to be a lot of adjustments. The goods are not ready in the time it was promised, the quantity is not correct, exotic goods from the rest of the world are delayed which means that the loading time is postponed, a new emergency order arrives and something must be transferred to the next day. No two days are alike.
Most of the loading takes place in what is called Westland in the area of Rotterdam, but many times it is loaded directly from the growers who are spread over large parts of Holland. By half past four in the afternoon, most of the planning is usually complete and the drivers continue their work of filling the trailer. When they are ready, they turn north and head towards the German border. Here, a number of vehicles are waiting who have arrived around lunchtime with return cargo from Sweden, mainly in the form of paper products and SRS materials but also sugar from Denmark.
At midnight, when the cars that have loaded in Holland reach the German border, the cars from the north take over the trailer with fruit and vegetables and continue towards Denmark. The cars that have loaded in Holland connect the return load and take their daily rest before carrying it back to Holland for unloading. The vehicles on their way to Sweden reach Helsingborg in the morning and unload most of the goods. So in less than 20 hours, hundreds of pallets of fruit and vegetables have been moved hundreds of miles. A puzzle that is solved six days a week, 52 weeks a year. No days excluded.
Dealing with this type of arrangement is not something you learn in a few weeks, says Jesper Rosén, CEO of Berneco Transport. It takes several years to get a grip on shippers, customers and all parameters that affect the setup.
In recent times, we have noticed a strong demand for our services, which is of course very gratifying, Rosén continues. We have therefore decided to recruit additional staff for our business. If there is anyone out there who is interested in taking on this challenge, you are welcome to contact me.
Jesper Rosén can be reached at +46 (0)431-44 95 53 or firstname.lastname@example.org