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Holland's busy coldstore operators well positioned for growing EEC trade.

Holland's Busy Coldstore Operators Well Positioned for Growing EEC Trade

Business is bustling among leading refrigerated warehouses, as their space is over 90% occupied with mostly non-intervention stocks.

Holland's strategic geographic location, linked by a multiple motorway system to most of the EEC and beyond, has gained it the reputation of being the "Gateway to Europe." Over the years import and export facilities second to none have been built up. And, of course, Rotterdam remains the world's premier port, trading with global concerns from all corners.

Over the past 20 years or so the construction of coldstores adjacent or close to docking quays has mushroomed. Today Holland has one of the healthiest refrigerated warehousing businesses in the world.

Quick Frozen Foods International, having recently visited five coldstore companies in the Netherlands, can report that without exception all were from 90% to 100% full. And, in the main, they were without intervention stocks. This latter point is very important as it is expected the bulk of government-owned commodities will be sent as aid to Russia this winter. This could mean that many operators throughout Europe will have to scratch around for business.

Nowhere can the success of Dutch refrigerated warehouses be demonstrated more than at Holland's largest group, Kloosterboer Cold Stores, which is a collective name for an assembly of companies with depots and stevedore arms in Vlissengen (Flushing), Rotterdam, Ijmuiden and Elst. Total storage capacity amounts to 450,000 cubic meters -- a figure which will be considerably increased this year as further development plans are carried out.

Now in the hands of the Kloosterboer family's third generation, the Group was founded in the early 1950s as a trader of vegetables and potatoes. Its first coldstore was opened in Elst during 1961, and with tremendous drive and development there are now four major warehouses at key locations in the most important ports of Holland. Two stevedoring companies have been established to support the waterfront coldstores.

The latest developments are in Rotterdam and Flushing, with the former expansion serving the huge container traffic. It should be noted that at least 50% of frozen commodities are transported by containers. Having said that, it is no coincidence that an 80,000 cubic meter Rotterdam coldstore has been built at Europe's largest container terminal: ECT. It is the first to match all the new EEC regulations concerning veterinary controls. And thanks to a joint venture arrangement, conventionally-shipped commodities can be handled by ECT stevedores.

A 70,000 cubic meter multipurpose terminal, scheduled to be completed this February at Flushing, will address a brand new activity -- the fresh fruit market. Ideally situated between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, the facility will offer the first strike-free fruit terminal within the Benelux countries.

Finally there is Elst, where the group's only inland coldstore is established. Services offered at the 70,000 cubic meter site include: covered loading/unloading sheds, providing B-permits for reception of fresh hanging meat storage on racks, a blending station for fruit juice processing, plus a freezing tunnel with a daily capacity of 60 tons. Products stored range from fruits and vegetables to meat, butter and concentrates.

Apart from the usual services at every location, Kloosterboer also specializes in the blending of concentrates, sampling, sorting, repacking, labeling, customs formalities, insurance, transportation by road, rail, sea and air. In addition, the company can shock-freeze up to 400 tons of product per day.


Daalimpex BV saw two new coldstores come on line within harbor boundaries during 1991. Storage capacity was increased to 350,000 cubic meters in the process. Nonetheless, "full" signs are now appearing.

The company has some intervention stocks, but the bulk of business is conducted under a "private" banner covering fish, meat, potato lines and butter. Five of the six stores owned by Daalimpex offer either direct quayside operations or harbor services. Some of the stores have shock-freezing equipment which in turn allows for direct delivery from meat and butter producers. Strongly emphasized are permanent stevedore services, which are owned by the company.

Beemsterboer BV

Beemsterboer BV is involved in a joint venture to build a 150 meter quay extension adjacent to its 80,000 cubic meter coldstore at Amsterdam Docks. Since import/export activities are bound to increase, plans include the opening of an additional 40,000 cubic meter coldstore extension during 1992. Meanwhile, dependence on intervention products is very limited.

However, the big talking point at Beemsterboer has been the signing of a major storage contract with USA-headquartered ice cream giant Haagen-Dazs, which is making rapid inroads into the European market. Specialized ice cream storage facilities have been incorporated into its warehouses. The reason for the company's delight in winning this business is that the boats delivering Haagen-Dazs products go direct to Rotterdam, and the shipment is then transferred to Amsterdam for general storage and international distribution purposes. To beat the tough competition from Rotterdam is certainly a feather in the cap.


HIWA BV, which is part of Nichirei Corporation of Japan, deals entirely in fruit juice services. This market continues to post growth throughout Europe, a pattern which shows no sign of slowing down in the foreseeable future. HIWA coldstores are confined to the quays and other harbor areas in Rotterdam

Success can be gauged by the fact that a further quayside store of 65,000 cubic meters will be built this year. The company's experience in juices covers many years, and services on offer include full transportation/distribution logistics from any port to any point in the world. Strict computerized control storage facilities are featured, along with drumming, re-drumming, blending and crushing services.

Van Bon

Van Bon BV has always planned with the future in mind, and its early foresight into the siting of coldstores at wharfs and adjacent to motorway routes has paid off nicely. In recent years heavy investment has taken place to extend positioning in Flushing. Success there has led to all four stores being over 90% full on a regular basis. And none house unreliable intervention commodities.

The company has never been content just to offer basic coldstore services. Consequently it has developed programs which include in-house packaging, repackaging, and laboratory quality control facilities. Until new warehouse plans are completed, Van Bon will rent space from other storage companies as required.


Eurofrigo BV, which is also a Nichirei holding, has coldstores based at the portside of Rotterdam, Roermond and Venlo. With current storage capacity of 400,000 cubic meters, it is one of the leading warehouse operations in the Benelux.

Very conscious of changing dynamics on the Continent, much of Eurofrigo's recent planning has involved the development of a competent coldstore system to service both central and eastern European countries. In order to cater to this market, a comprehensive 90,000 cubic meter facility has been built in the Dutch border town of Venlo. There direct railway and motorway links are available to the heavily populated Ruhr area of Germany, as well as to further afield destinations such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The original coldstore, which came into operation during January of 1990, has since become an integral part of the service community. So much so, in fact, that a further 80,000 cubic meter store had to be added last year. Plans are already on the drawing board for another 80,000 cubic meter unit.

The company does business with household names such as McCain, McDonald's, Groko, ODC and Gellorn, who are the main suppliers of sweet corn products to Europe. Other major concerns, recognizing the benefits of Venlo, are currently negotiating with Eurofrigo to distribute from there.

The Roermond depot continues to be modified, and 1992 will see a new packaging line installed to accommodate the growing vegetable market. Campina, Holland's largest ice cream manufacturer, has decided to inventory stock there because of its proximity to domestic and international clients. Eurofrigo's willingness to adopt specialist ice cream requirements was also an important consideration.

The Rotterdam depot will see major reconstruction taking place this year. Plans call for a 100,000 cubic meter coldstore plus new office accommodations. This site offers logistical advantages such as immediate access to railway connections and a network of motorways throughout Holland.

Jac. Meisner

Jac. Meisner BV is an established company specializing exclusively in the business of distribution. It does not own coldstores or transport vehicles, but rather concentrates on finding its customers the most economical routes to transport frozen foods. Paperwork, customs clearance, transport carriers and necessary documentation planning are prepared by expert staff members.

Last year saw a lot of activity in the importation of Argentinian beef, venison, fish and shrimp. Also recorded was a big increase in shark meat from the Far East and South America. The market for the latter has grown markedly, particularly in Italy and France.

PHOTO : A bird's eye view of the Flushing Fruit Terminal in Holland operated by Kloosterboer. Ongoing construction to expand the facility is evident at right.

PHOTO : Th. W.M. Sambeeck, director of Beemsterboer Coldstore Services BV, is busy reviewing new business prospects.
COPYRIGHT 1992 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:European Economic Community
Author:Brown, Morrison
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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