It is a busy time for hauliers of agricultural products. The beet season has started and that means that they often work with all their might to transport the beet from the fields to the factory. Post Handel en Transport from Harderwijk is one such company that goes the extra mile during the beet campaign. Or more than just the one mile. Because while Post normally employs around 60 to 70 people, they scale it up to 160 during the sugar beet campaign. Some of the drivers use Kraker moving floor trailers.
It is a hefty logistics operation, but for Johan Post there is no stress. "It is busy indeed. There are now three planners working full time plus someone who can be deployed flexibly, and I also jump in when necessary. The volumes we transport during those few months are huge. And we are still in the start-up phase of the campaign, so it is very busy at times. We not only transport the beet from the fields to the factory, we also drive silos of sugar from the factory to the processors. Half of our fleet has three drivers on it at this time. Every season we buy a few more vehicles, like now the two K-Force Agri moving floor trailers from Kraker. After the season, some older vehicles are laid off. But in this period we can't make it with our fleet alone, so we also rent and deploy a number of charters," says Johan.
"By the way, these new Krakers are our first bolted trailers. Does that make any difference to me?" Johan thinks for a moment and then continues, "No, because what Kraker delivers is good. I'm not going to act like a trailer builder and have full confidence in it."
There is a huge shortage of drivers in the transport sector, but luckily at Post they don't suffer from this. "We have a permanent pool of drivers who actually come to drive for us every year in this period. Think for example of farmers who are a bit less busy at this time of year or people who take it into account in their own planning. I think we see around 70% of the seasonal drivers back every year."
Moving floor trailers are used to transport the sugar beet, in addition to the tippers still in the business. Among others from Kraker. "We have several brands, often we don't know until late what volumes we will be driving approximately and then we have to see who can deliver quickly. But the Krakers, they do stand out optically, they are just very beautiful. And they are reliable vehicles. I generally assume that we won't have any special maintenance for the first four years, besides regular maintenance. They are strong trailers that can take a beating. And the regular maintenance, we do that ourselves. We have a number of mechanics working daily to keep our fleet operational."
The trailers supplied to Post are specifically for the beet campaign and their wide range of uses is fully utilised at Post during the beet campaign, resulting in virtually no empty kilometres. "We load at the farm, then the beets go to the factory and going back the moving floor trailers carry beet pulp."
For the rest of the year, they stand aside and we make sure they are ready again for the next season."
Post's K-Force Agri's are shorter trailers. This is due to the high specific weight of the product. The trailers are precisely tuned for beet transport. For Post, this makes them less profitable for transporting other products.
"It may sound strange that they are stationary for long periods, but in those few months our trailers transport more than they do at any other transporter in a whole year. We really maximise revenue from that. Our approach is that we use the trailers for six years, or six seasons." After that, Post sells them, just like the trucks. And they do that themselves. "It depends on the market where I sell. I could sell the trucks well in the Netherlands in the past two years, before that I sold them to countries like South America or Dubai. We sell all over the world." Johan immediately adds: "But I do that together with the senior, you know, I can't do that alone. We really do that together. But I always keep a sharp eye on the fleet."
Post very deliberately chose K-Force Agri. "A short trailer that is easily manoeuvrable in the sometimes tight loading spots. And without many options, because most options also mean more weight. And weight is very important to us. I did look seriously at a steering axle, but for us that would reduce the payload too much. The moving floor trailers are fitted with a lift axle, however."
One option that Post did opt for quite deliberately is TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) which monitors tyre pressure and gives a warning if it is too low. TPMS also measures the temperature of your tyres. Does this deviate? Then the system issues a warning.
"This way, we prevent unnecessary accidents such as blowouts and the resulting downtime," he says. Because nobody can afford downtime in the beet campaign, which goes on 24/7.