Annually De Heus processes about 1.9 million tonnes of raw materials in The Netherlands. The majority of these goods arrive at the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
From there the feedstuffs are transported by ship to the company’s processing plants, of which eight of the eleven plants are located at a river or canal.
In 2010 Holland’s largest privately owned feed miller has built a fleet of nine barges of which the last few have recently been delivered.
Before this investment in transport across the rivers, the raw materials were hauled by truck. With the barges now De Heus can transport 90% its raw materials by ship.
The barges are not self-propelled and need to be pushed by a towboat. Each barge can carry 500 tonnes, which increases the flexibility in logistics.
Built in China, the barges can be pushed in combinations of 2, 4 or 6 boats, making it possible to transport 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 tonnes respectively.
Apart from transport the barges also function as temporary storage for raw materials at the feed plants, further increasing flexibility in supply.
Experiences are very positive so far and the company is thinking of further increasing its fleet.
“Choosing for barges in supply logistics is also a choice for sustainability,” De Heus said in a press release. “Each barge saves 15-20 truck rides. Yearly this would save more than 100,000 truck movements within The Netherlands.”
Apart from the barges De Heus also invested in other energy and environment saving measures. This year 14 trucks were replaced by new ones that comply with the latest Euro 5 emission requirements.
Furthermore the route planning system has been optimised and all trucks are coupled with this system by an on-board computer, which increases efficiency of feed deliveries.