Scheduling an interview with transport entrepreneur Frans de Dobbelaere is easier said than done. This man is on the road from morning to night and in between he also manages the ins and outs of his business from his cabin. Once you actually get to speak to him, he devotes all the time required, and he is completely open and honest.
This is also how he and his company are known: you know exactly where you stand with Transport De Dobbelaere from Biervliet. Agreements are honoured, and if something should go wrong, they don't move on until it is cleared up. In Jan de Kraker, he found his match in this respect, and it precisely that which forms one of the pillars of a relationship that has already lasted 26 years. And if it's up to Frans, that won't change either.
Frans mainly operates in Benelux and France, with bulk (agricultural) products, palletised goods and the like. "Only scrap metal I no longer transport. Firstly, it isn’t really profitable at the moment, and it is also demanding on your trailer. You have to deal with a lot more wear and tear if you use a standard trailer to transport scrap metal from time to time as well."
"I used to work for Fieret and that's how I came into contact with Kraker and their moving floor trailers. That was new to me, I used different trailers before this. Besides, for Kraker itself it was all new back then too," says Frans, "because they were just starting to specialise in that at the time. Since I started on my own, I have not used anything but Kraker. I have witnessed the growth of Kraker up close."
A new Kraker every five years.
Frans means “up close" literally. Not only is he a long-time Kraker customer, but he is also from the same region: Zeeland Flanders. "In the old days, Kraker didn't have salesmen, Jan de Kraker did the selling himself. When I needed a trailer, I would talk to Jan and we would put one together. This has always been the case. I buy a new trailer every 5 years and I still work through Jan." In the nearly three decades, they have built a good relationship based on mutual trust and respect. "I’m honest, and if I don't like something, I don’t bite my lip. It’s only natural that there were some issues over all these long years. I have also considered another brand, but that didn't feel right. Why not? Well, it is in part because of loyalty. We know what we have in common, we are based in the same region and I like the quality that Kraker delivers. Those trailers still have that extra something that I don’t see in other brands. Thought has gone into the finish, the details, everything. Take a look at the door handles, for instance. Kraker's are sturdy, robust. You don't see that with every brand. All in all, it just didn't feel right to buy anywhere else." Frans has never gone beyond just having a look elsewhere. "Not that I am not approached, mind you. I am "only" a customer of one trailer, but I am a loyal customer."
Folding bumper: practical for work and lighting protection
A folding bumper is available as an optional extra for your K-Force. Frans de Dobbelaere opted for one for extra convenience. The folding bumper provides about 15cm extra free height in the folded position and when it is folded it falls outside the unloading area. This provides the bumper and the lighting with better protection while unloading, and no material is left behind. The bumper is lifted pneumatically and operated manually with a button on the side of the trailer.
Coating on the interior of the trailer
In the spring of '22, Frans collected his 6th Kraker in the form of a K-Force with a number of options, including a coating on the interior of the sidewalls. "I drive bulk agricultural products, among other things, and sometimes they turn black when they come into contact with aluminium. But that coating is also very nice when transporting big bags, because they too turn black as they scrape along the walls. With that coating, the bags stay nice and white. That makes the overall picture just right. Customers also like that."
If it is up to Frans, the collaboration will continue for many more years. Kraker Trailers is also only too happy to have such an ambassador for the brand.