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The Rotterdam mentality is Rhenus’ greatest strength

Jan Wickel has had 5 years of commercial sales responsibility and 10 years of operational responsibility for Rhenus’ two terminals: at the Waalhaven and Maasvlakte. Since March, he has been in charge of recruitment with a nod to the operational side, where unburdening is also helpful when necessary. Rhenus operates two trimodal breakbulk & heavy-lift terminals with water, road and rail connections where general cargo, containers and bulk are transhipped. They handle ships up to 50 to 60,000 DW tons.

The Rotterdam mentality is Rhenus’ greatest strength

At the two terminals, you can strongly feel the Rotterdam mentality: hard work with a passion for the profession. The ‘Rotterdam dock worker’ is still the heart of the company here. Where container terminals have replaced physical labour with automation processes, such as remote-controlled quay cranes and hoisting cranes, the core business on the Maasvlakte and Waalhaven remains of a physical nature. “Breakbulk is always delivered in a different form. All cargo that is unloaded or loaded must be transported, checked and handled. You need hands, knowledge and equipment for that.”

Part of this equipment is supplied by Peinemann. Rhenus leases terminal equipment. This includes long-term lease and short-term rental. At the moment, the terminals mainly use reach stackers, 33-ton forklift trucks, terminal tractors and aerial platforms. “It is on the one hand the price/quality ratio and on the other hand the service that makes Peinemann a great cooperation partner”.

It is not only important that the operations are performed properly, all the actions that are involved are also crucial. “The service is sometimes even more important than the operation itself. We cannot run an operation without equipment. The collaboration is great. As a customer, we like the way Peinemann communicates with us and solves problems. They are good at that. Sometimes one has to make some concessions, other times we are straightforward the Rotterdam way. It is that kind of collaboration.

The challenge for the terminals nowadays lies in finding good personnel, according to Jan. “Without (good) people we cannot load and unload ships and we cannot operate equipment. The knowledge and specialism of the generation that is now retiring must be transferred to the next generation. However, it is difficult to find people who want to take up the profession of the “Rotterdam port worker” with pleasure and passion.

“The overall mindset at the terminal is ‘do what you say and say what you do!’. Whether it concerns a collaboration with a partner or the staff: when this culture prevails, we can enjoy working together.

“It is on the one hand the price/quality ratio and on the other hand the service that makes Peinemann a great cooperation partner”.

Jan Wickel

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