"Marketing inland navigation at the time was as difficult as selling a MacBook to Bill Gates".
Van Moer Logistics celebrates the 10th anniversary of its intermodal activities with new partner Agrifirm in Grobbendonk.
With the start-up of Agrifirm, the logistics group from Antwerp looks back on the origins of their intermodal activities. After a challenging start, founder Jo Van Moer looks back on the risk he took in 2011 with the acquisition of his first container terminal in Grimbergen. Thanks to the new cooperation with Agrifirm, 5.000 additional trips on the E313 and the Antwerp Ring are avoided today.
In 2011 Van Moer Logistics took over the container terminal in Grimbergen which had been empty for several years due to bankruptcy. With that takeover, the logistician from Waasland took a big risk, because at that time there were no potential customers for the terminal in sight.
"At that time, marketing inland navigation was almost as difficult as selling a MacBook to Bill Gates", says Jo Van Moer, founder and CEO of Van Moer Logistics. "Companies were not yet worried about their ecological footprint and public opinion was not yet in favour of a more ecological transport policy. The takeover of the terminal in Grimbergen was therefore an immense risk which delivered me a lot of sleepless nights, but my gut feeling told me that this was the right decision. "
10 years later, that risk turns out to have paid off well. Today, Van Moer Logistics manages 8 terminals in Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven and operates 9 barges through their joint venture with Manuport Logistics, WeBarge. In 2020, they transported a record of 318.000 TEU (20' container) via inland navigation.
Agrifirm, global player in agricultural raw materials, proves that more companies choose inland navigation. With their new production department of concentrates in Grobbendonk, which will start up in September, they opt for an intermodal solution via the nearby Dennie Lockefeer Container Terminal operated by Van Moer Logistics. This avoids 5.000 trips on the E313 and the Antwerp Ring, resulting in a total saving of 268.500 kilometres on the road.
"Where there is a will, there is a waterway. Together with the road kilometres saved, our social impact is highly relevant. By using inland navigation, no less than 66% less CO2 is emitted, which is a strong argument for Agrifirm," says Chris Mercier, Operation Director Agrifirm EMEA.
Agrifirm is following the footsteps of other major players who have also opted for inland navigation in the past. For example, in the past 10 years Caterpillar, Umicore, Stanley Black & Decker, Converse,
Carrefour and H&M have, in cooperation with Van Moer Logistics, also opted for intermodal transport to drastically reduce their emissions.
Jo Van Moer: "With the European Green Deal in prospect, we hope to convince even more companies about the social added value of inland navigation. That is why we want to continue to develop our intermodal department in the future. We strongly believe that intermodality will play a crucial role in making the transport sector more sustainable."
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