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Martien van Wijngen

Message from Martien

Martien van Wijngen

My name is Martien van Wijngen. I am the director of Van Wijngen International and I would like to introduce myself to you.

Some time ago, when I was 16 years old, I started working in the port of Rotterdam as a declarant. This was my first real introduction to logistics. My dream was to one day have a transport company with my own trucks on the road. At age 30, I decided to start for myself in temperature controlled transport. In the early stages I was a freight forwarder only, and although I had some big customers, there was not enough excitement in it.

After one year I bought my first truck. It just wasn’t with me, because during the first trip my first driver crashed and my first truck was total loss.

Volvo Globetrotter

With some financial help from a relation, I was finally able to start over with 2 used trucks. The following years got better and by 1988 we had 20, for the time, modern trucks. Volvo Globetrotters, these had generous luxury cabs with air conditioning and heaters. That was quite something, for those days.

I handled the commercial affairs, while my wife Greta managed the financial affairs. We transported fruit and vegetables from southern Spain and Italy to the Benelux countries. We did a trip like that from southern Europe in 36 hours. The trucks made more than 300,000 kilometers a year, with double crews, of course.

Martien en Greta van Wijngen

I thought I was a good carrier, but was not a good entrepreneur in any case. It was always carrying on. The money I made went into fines. Every year we paid up to 50,000 guilders in fines. But you had to if you wanted to be the best and fastest.

Business was different then. Now, temperature-controlled transport is no longer a specialty. Back then, transport companies worked for traders who only dealt in vegetables and/or strawberries, for example.

They had to get their goods to market on time. Because the sooner those strawberries were on the market, the higher the price.

Combi truck Van Wijngen

So in 1995, we decided to change course drastically and switch to ambient transport, with normal box trailers and tilt trailers : computers, store inventory, canned goods, general merchandise and whatever else presented itself. I decided to focus on Paris, a city with a population of 14 million and within driving hours nicely manageable from the Netherlands. Moreover, I knew a number of forwarders there, so the five trailers I started with were soon filled.

One thing led to another. So we grew from five combinations in 1995 to the 150 trucks in 2010. A large company with 150 French-speaking drivers. For large parties, we transported many full loadings to France and back.

Porteur Van Wijngen

But even that changed again, mainly during the crisis that occurred in 2008. The big shippers understood that they were saving more with a carrier with hundreds of Eastern European drivers than with Van Wijngen. So we had to differentiate ourselves more, with a smaller fleet. You have to find a certain niche as a carrier.

We now distinguish ourselves by transporting groupage to France with French-speaking drivers. Send a French driver with 7 addresses around Paris. Or send a Lithuanian driver with the same partial shipments to Paris. Carriers with drivers from Eastern Europe are never going to beat us here. No matter how cheap they are. This is our story to our customer. Because in people’s mindset, a cheap product is not always a good product and often of low quality.

Familie Van Wijngen

We don’t advertise, but we do speak the language of the French, figuratively and literally. French people also search after us as a carrier. You can find our fleet throughout France.

This is how we create real value within the supply chain by providing transport at fair rates and paying our staff correctly. This is what we stand for and this is how we make our contribution to the Dutch economy.

With kind regards,

Martien van Wijngen

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