De Rocker Logistics: "Occupancy is only getting more important"

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It feels hot and cold at the same time at De Rocker Logistics. Although the company from Wetteren is eagerly looking forward to the big move in Zele, it has to compete against the corona crisis, just like the whole sector. Managing director Rudy Denutte is moderately positive and these days focuses on an optimal occupation of the transports. "Where we used to deposit 4-5 pallets daily, today there are 1-2. That is why we are in strict consultation with our customers to combine the loads. In this way, we have ensured that our occupancy rate has remained at the same level".

At the end of this summer, De Rocker Logistics will leave its home base in Wetteren after 67 years, and move to a brand new 3 ha site in Zele (see video). De Rocker is specialized in the storage and distribution of food under controlled temperature. To stimulate further growth, they are building a completely new sustainable warehouse with stock management system, a cross dock platform with transport management system and an office complex in the Wijnveld in Zele. This will serve as a central hub for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. All this will result in a doubling of the current storage and transport capacity.

"We started the year with a profitable turnover growth of 14 percent. Unfortunately, the coronavirus arrived and we recorded a 10 percent drop in turnover in March. For the months of April and May we expect a further decrease of 20 percent. However, this does not mean that I will complain. There are other sectors that are having a much harder time at the moment," says Rudy Denutte.

Occupancy rate
"We've taken some measures of our own. Especially the increase in the occupancy rate of trucks is an important one. Every day in the Benelux region we drive under controlled temperature, with a lot of chocolate. We have reduced certain regions where we normally drive every day. This in consultation with the customer. In view of the drops that have fallen - formerly an average of 4-5 per day, now 1-2 - we consult with the customer in order to combine these loads. In this way our occupancy rate has remained at the same level".

Rudy Denutte is moderately optimistic. "As long as there is no vaccine, the economy will go up and down. So I expect a structural improvement in the economy only in the second half of 2021. As far as De Rocker Logistics is concerned, we have a lot of chocolate customers, and despite the times of crisis, chocolate remains a tasty but also a luxury product. I expect that people will still consume a praline or buy a jar of Nutella. Food is a keeper anyway. People have to eat every day and on top of that it's hard to copy. So I want to remain optimistic as an entrepreneur", concludes Denutte.

22/04/2020 Yannick Haesevoets

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