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‘Making a profit and doing business in a socially responsible way go hand in hand!’

All logistics companies would be interested in driving fewer kilometres, thinks logistics agent Mark Luikens. This would avoid driving during rush hour or being caught in traffic jams. Driving fewer kilometres would also reduce the number of half-full lorries on the roads. Making a company work more efficiently will help to reduce its CO2 emissions. That is why Mark provides logistics companies with tailored advice to make them more sustainable and achieve significant cost savings.

This benefits both businesses and wider society

Mark works with companies specializing in construction site delivery and freight transport. He provides tailored advice for companies that have vans for road works and companies that transport goods with lorries. ‘Every company is different. As a logistics agent, I first have a lengthy discussion with the company to get a good idea of it as well as the way it works. I never know in advance whatexactly will come from it, but I always have questions in the back of my mind such as: Could the ordering process be made more efficient? Is it possible to make better use of existing capacity? Does it make sense for the vans to return to a central depot each time? What can be achieved with digitization? Can different types of cargo be grouped? Are there possibilities to make a fleet more sustainable? Could vehicles potentially use biofuels? Are electric vehicles an option? Does the company already use the “CO2-Prestatieladder” (CO2Performance Ladder)?’ 

Practical tips

Mark suggests improvements that fit the company's business model. ‘I hold up a mirror to companies and tell them about the potential efficiency gains. At Maastricht Bereikbaar, we specify this as clearly as possible Often a vehicle drives to its destination at full capacity and returns at only half capacity. There are logistical platforms that prevent this. Wuunder, for example, is a platform comparable to booking.com but for parcels, pallets, and documents. The first and last kilometres of parcels are grouped for transport that is as CO2neutral as possible. For container transport, we work with UTURN. They coordinate and ensure that trucks at a short distance from the destination are at full capacity again, which prevents everyone from driving in circles. We have developed a trial offer for the use of these platforms. This means that companies can test whether they can group cargo in this way to reduce the number of kilometres that their vehicles drive with an empty trailer. 

On average, 30% of all lorries drive with an empty trailer. Surely it’s possible to arrange this in a different way? If companies want to work together on transport, but do so independently of a platform, we help them to establish the right match together with the transporter’s organization evofenedex. We bundle knowledge and skills and help entrepreneurs conduct their business in a different way. If a company has too little time and too few members of staff, we may be able to provide an intern who fits in with the company through our contacts with training institutes. Some of these matches are quite interesting.’

Practical examples

Mark reviewed logistics operations at Rions Riooltechniek, Maasveste Berben Bouw, Gilissen en Gilissen installatietechniek, Wessels VGO, Bouw en Renovatie, OTIS, Laudy Bouw, Dolmans Landscaping, Jansen Huybrechts, housing corporation Servatius, and Houben Vastgoedservice. His work at these companies led to interesting results. ‘In 2018, Houben Vastgoedservice in Maastricht implemented a range of logistical and organizational measures. This family business has approximately 90 employees. It also has roughly 60 vans on the road for all maintenance and renovation work for housing corporations, property owners, and property managers. In 2019, their number of journeys per day was reduced by 211 compared with the year before. This meant that the fleet of company vans drove 1,590 kilometres less per day. Previously, 145 of those prior journeys were made during rush hour. This meant that a significant amount of time was gained: 42 working hours per day over the entire fleet. It also became apparent that a CO2reduction of 75,946 kg in one year was possible, which is comparable to the emissions of nine households.’                                                                                                                                                         

Hesitation                                                                                  

Despite the resounding results, not everyone is on board. Mark knows why this is usually the case:‘Keeping track of all current developments yourself, in addition to the daily churn, is difficult. Companies also need to adapt to the idea of sharing data with one another. Each company has its own targets, which are often sensitive to competition. It takes a while for companies to open up to working together. You have to build trust. This also applies to me as a logistics agent. Naturally, anyone who has seen the first results will want to continue and make sure their approach remains efficient. In this case, making a profit and doing business in a socially responsible way really go hand in hand!’

If you want to get started

If you are interested in exchanging ideas with Mark Luikens, please send an e-mail to mark.luikens@maastricht-bereikbaar.nl. Logistics companies can join Maastricht Bereikbaar for free and become a partner. Logistics advice and project support are free of charge. If companies carry out a project that results in at least five ‘avoided rush hours’ per day and/or a 2,500-kg reduction of CO2emissions per year, they will earn a contribution of 4,000 euros to making their logistics processes more sustainable.