There are many challenges in the logistics sector. But it also offers opportunities. This is according to Jochen Borremans, Managing Director of Bingo Trans, a Belgian company specializing in the logistics management and transport of BelOrta fruit and vegetables. He says there is particular demand for services that offload customers.
A service that Bingo Trans is increasingly focusing on. Flexibility plays a major role in this, explains the manager. “Responding quickly and flexibly to current demand is vital. We are located in [BelOrta] cooperative, so we can change quite quickly. It takes a long time for outside companies to send someone here,” begins Jochen.
At the request of its client, Bingo Trans can organize complete logistical support. “This may involve picking orders, preparing pallets for export, or checking their auction purchases. For foreign traders, we can do the loading and create the necessary CMRs.” Price plays a significantly more important role, especially with exports to Southern Europe.
“Now these countries will only fill shortages of tomatoes, for example, if the product is cheap. Before, this shortage played the main role,” says Jochen. In addition to logistics handling, Bingo Trans focuses on the national transport of fruits and vegetables in groupage from BelOrta. “This work is also ongoing. Other than cost increases, geopolitical tensions are having little effect on the domestic market.”
Costs difficult to estimate
But, it’s not business as usual, he said. Jochen says costs are currently so volatile that even with rates adjusted weekly, it is not always possible to estimate costs. “A supplement partially covers the increase in fuel prices. However, sometimes prices fluctuate so quickly that you cannot make ends meet, even with a weekly supplement. The differences are too great”, explains- he.
Bingo Trans has chosen to adjust the prizes weekly as it is not administratively possible to do so every day. “Since the war broke out in Ukraine, there have been times when diesel prices have changed three times a week. Then sometimes you have to pass on that increase.” He mentions the prices of all peripheral goods, which have also risen sharply.
Borremans says that since the 12% price increase implemented by Bingo Trans in January – based on the cost structure at the time – the prices of tires, for example, have already increased three times. He adds that the sector faces significant challenges and wonders if the situation will stabilize downwards or worsen? “We don’t know what to expect,” says Jochen.
Cost price and capacity
Air freight is one of Bingo Trans’ focal points for logistics management. An activity which, according to Jochen, seemed promising a few years ago. “There has definitely been growth, but not fast. However, during the pandemic, the air transport of fruits and vegetables has completely collapsed. Just when things started to pick up, Russia/Ukraine tensions started, and everything fell apart again. He attributes the fall to the rising cost of air freight.
However, air cargo volumes have yet to return to pre-COVID levels. “Prices are skyrocketing because of cost prices, surcharges and kerosene, and there is a lack of capacity. Customers therefore have to make compromises. When air transport is delayed, there is a demand for additional storage of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is not always available. Combined with the high prices, the question then remains whether these products are still profitable.
Jochen says the airfreight situation remains difficult because you can no longer do things like give customers the correct flight information. “Let’s say a customer supplies everything for departure on Saturday, but the cargo doesn’t leave until Tuesday. Then this product is already three days old; by the time it reaches its destination it is over a week old. In terms of shelf life, it doesn’t work for fruits and vegetables.” He says that uncertainty is causing some end customers to give up.
They are looking for products from different origins. Others are adapting to these changes to keep their customers. Either way, Bingo Trans can’t help but notice that there are fewer fruits and vegetables arriving by air, which affects their handling. Bingo Trans is therefore fortunate to have several activities within the company. “We do logistics as well as transport. This allows us to move people and capacity from one branch to another as needed, which improves flexibility,” concludes Jochen.
Bingo Trans SPRL
Industrial area Sint-Katelijne-Waver Z. 1
Kempenarestraat 64 – Bus 1
Such. : +32 15 85 89 71