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About Cotton, 7000 Employees and a gigantic Truck Fleet

Thursday, 27 July 2006 ( #270 )
Katoen Natie - in English: The Guild of the Cotton Handling Companies. This seemingly insignificant one hundred and fifty years old thought for the future - further developed in the last 20 years by Fernand Huts - has written a breathtaking success story in the logistics business.

The concern, based in Antwerp, employs 7000 people and is logistics partner, fulfilment centre and problem solver worldwide. This is a worldwide concern divided into seven business sectors - petrochemicals, industry, special chemicals, trade goods, food, project engineering and ports.

Day and night in operation at more than 90% availability Truck and pulp bale clamp at Katoen Natie
Day and night in operation at more than 90% availability Truck and pulp bale clamp at Katoen Natie
At the Antwerp site alone there are 570 industrial trucks in operation, from the simplest pallet truck to the reach trucks. The fleet of the 2.5 to 4.5 tonne gas powered trucks - typically equipped with multi pallet handlers, fork positioners, special pallet inverters, pole tine and other attachments - are the backbone of the "round the clock" philosophy.

Somewhere in Antwerp there are permanent trucks and attachments in operation, either in their own handling terminals which cover approx. 265,000 square metres, or directly at customers' sites. The many different attachments, some of them specially designed for the requirements of the application, are supplied mostly from Hans H. Meyer GmbH, Germany, via their sales and service company for Belgium and the Netherlands - MEYER BENELUX B.V.

Guido Vrancken is technical manager of the truck and crane fleet worth millions and swears by quality products: "The total cost of ownership interests me more than a few hundred Euros saved on the purchase price", so says Mr. Vrancken. All machines are chosen, tested and purchased in close dialog with the manufacturer. Full service contracts provide availability exceeding 90%.

Day and night in operation at more than 90% availability Truck and pulp bale clamp at Katoen Natie
Day and night in operation at more than 90% availability Truck and pulp bale clamp at Katoen Natie
This demanding customer who is also represented in Germany at three large chemical sites, often has special requirements. For instance, all 2.5 tonne trucks have ISO 3 fork carriages. This has proved beneficial in arduous applications. At the same time this serves the internal standardisation and better exchangeability of attachments and forks.

A further component of the extensive attachment fleet are paper and pulp bale clamps from Hans H. Meyer GmbH. Typical clamps for mass handling of pulp are clamps of the series 3-2222N-LP with 10 tonne capacity at 800 mm load centre, combined with 16 tonne trucks. Michel Schraepen, sales director for MEYER Belgium, is permanently on site, discusses new projects and, most importantly, provides communication with Salzgitter.

Guido Vrancken is demanding. He urges his suppliers to make extensive visits to site and give detailed works and application studies. Vrancken emphasizes: "This in the only way our suppliers will take in what we do, what we want and construct the unit which we require".
Arduous applications: pulp bale clamps (10-ton capacity at 800 mm load centre) operating on 16 ton trucks
Arduous applications: pulp bale clamps (10-ton capacity at 800 mm load centre) operating on 16 ton trucks

These field studies not only provide new and further developed attachments. The world's largest RoRo-Truck with 34 tonne capacity was also designed in Antwerp. Katoen Natie have designated full-time drivers for each unit. They are carefully trained and have a considerably say when choosing and testing new trucks and attachments. At the moment there are about 20 pulp bale clamps, 5 pallet inverters, 30 fork positioners and 20 multi pallet handlers in operation at this Belgium concern.

Email: info@meyer-sz.de

Online: www.meyer-world.com

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