Oscar on developments in Special Transport and Stevedoring.

Vlaardingen is synonymous with its port. Entering Vlaardingen from the A4? Then your first view will be of the DFDS ships and freight traffic about to make the crossing. But behind the brutality of these sea freighters rise two tall blue cranes. Hooymeijer's cranes. Oscar Hooymeijer is Manager of Special Transport and Stevedoring, responsible for everything that is loaded, unloaded, packed and shipped on the quay around these cranes. He updates us on developments within this business unit of Hooymeijer and the challenges within the field.

Oscar begins: "Engineering, ports and trucks, basically anything that has a diesel engine in it, has always piqued my interest. For the vast majority of my career, I have worked within the transport sector, in commercial positions, relationship management and business development. My business card says Manager of Special Transport and Stevedoring. I am responsible for those two sections within Hooymeijer."

Realistic growth for Special Transport and Stevedoring
Oscar proudly tells us that they are doing really well: "It's great to see. Stevedoring is and always has been successful, but now Special Transport is on the up too. Special Transport is in Hooymeijer's DNA. We see many opportunities and possibilities to grow this business unit. In addition, it complements Stevedoring enormously, extending the chain to customers."

Oscar's ambitions for this Hooymeijer branch are substantial but realistic. "For a carrier, it is always interesting and challenging to speak in numbers of vehicles. But we don't want to go from 6 to 18 in one go. If we add two vehicles every month, for example, and we are at 12 to 14 cars by the end of next year, I will be delighted. We have plans to invest not only in new cars, but also by refurbishing, rather than disposing of, the vehicles that have be replaced. That, in turn, gives us an extra vehicle." So more capacity is on the way for Hooymeijer. But gradually and at a realistic pace.

Expert to the millimetre
This type of growth does not just happen of its own accord. But fortunately, customers know how to find Oscar. He is known for his human approach to doing business, and the expertise he and his colleagues put into the company. As if it was nothing, he enthusiastically tells us about a job: "Two months ago, a customer called. He had some very heavy items, which had to be moved from Venlo to Antwerp. We are talking about objects weighing in at 140 tonnes and 6.5 metres wide. We can work with that. So, I made an offer, hired a few heavy cranes and vehicles with lots of wheels and used a boat. These are the jobs that energise me." When we ask if a request ever brings him out in a cold sweat, he is resolute: “Never. I have my own area of expertise. When someone calls me about transporting live animals, for example, I pass. I have no understanding of that sector."

Issues such as sizing and permits are what make Special Transport complex at times. It is fair to say that Oscar must love his job, as he effortlessly reels off the sizes of various containers: "Fortunately, we often deal with an expert who works for our client. But sometimes things go wrong. For example, a container is 234.5 centimetres wide. An open top container tapers somewhat and is only 220 centimetres wide at the top. This is sometimes forgotten and the load will not fit as a result. Mistakes like that are sometimes made." This is one of the reasons Oscar also likes to visit customers. A mistake is easily made and he does not hesitate to go out and measure up again on site. "There have been times when a group of machines has had to be picked up, packed and shipped and the dimensions are not right. Or the right equipment is not available. Over a cup of coffee, I advise the customer and we solve it whenever possible!"

Oscar lives and breathes Hooymeijer. Not so much because of his surname, because he’s not entirely sure the passion comes from his DNA. He concludes: "The port and transport world remains great fun. It also attracts the type of people I like, people I can get on with and work with. No two days are the same here at the Queen Wilhelmina Harbour, which is what energises me. That is one of the many things that makes my work very interesting, of course!"

Oscar will soon talk further about how the DNA of Hooymeijer is woven into the organisation to this day.