Behind the scenes at import freight forwarder Dennis de Vos
29 August 2022
The Rotterdam Waalhaven has been his work home for many years. First at the Van Weerden Poelmanweg, and for the last 4 years at the Albert Plesmanweg. But always with Ritra Cargo. He arrived in 1999 and never left. In this interview, you’ll take a look behind the scenes of import freight forwarder Dennis.
Dennis was born and raised on the Zuid-Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee, in the small coastal town of Stellendam. He attended secondary school in Hellevoetsluis, where he also met a very nice young lady called Manon! Eventually, he is lucky enough to marry Manon.
The sea is in the blood: he soon has a sideline where he organises the provisioning of fishing boats and bunkering boats, and sometimes even yachts. He received orders (by telefax in those days…), gathered the products and delivered them.
A few years later, he crossed the Haringvlietdam and made a new home in Hellevoetsluis. Dennis and Manon have two children: daughter Ynke (13) and son Niek (9). In his spare time, he likes to go for walks and listen to dance music.
When we ask colleagues to describe Dennis, they often say that they appreciate his ‘calm’ and his patience.
“I can describe Dennis as a helpful colleague and a quiet, hardworking person. And that is exactly why he stands out. He is critical when it’s needed, but mainly of his own activities.”
“Dennis is a meticulous and creative guy, who can unexpectedly come out with a dry remark or a funny pun. It is also very nice that he is so patient.”
“I have worked with Dennis for the last 11 years and I have always enjoyed it. Dennis will always take care of everything for his customers, down to the last detail. Also, when I am on holiday, he looks after my accounts, which my customers really like.”
The road to forwarding agent
During his broadly oriented logistics course at the Scheepvaart en Transportcollege (S.T.C., Shipping and Transport College), Dennis completed work placements at various companies. He worked at a warehouse, at ETC, and in the captain’s office of a shipbroker specialising in iron ore shipping. The tasks are varied, especially at his first work placement.
Dennis: “From unexpected trips back and forth to Belgium, learning to drive a forklift truck, stocking and managing the warehouse, to projects that required me to transport a glider. Not a single day was the same there.“
After his course, he came to work at the Import Operations department at Ritra Cargo in 1999. Here, he worked with Wilfred Sparnaay, among others, and later also with Ronald de Jong. They too are familiar team Ritra faces. Dennis went back to S.T.C. in the evenings and completed several courses to broaden his knowledge. This is also where he eventually achieves his ‘Freight Forwarder’ diploma.
Dennis: “After working in Operations for a while, I wanted more contact with customers. Pretty soon there was room for me to make the move to Customer Service.”
A day at work with import freight forwarder Dennis
Dennis has a diverse customer base, with both fashion and non-fashion customers. In addition, he has been the designated contact person for a large clothing company for many years. He not only arranges the shipments for this loyal Ritra customer, he also look after their warehousing.
This involves some clever stock management. This is because his customer not only ships brochure items, but also holds so-called never-out-of-stock products. These goods have to remain in stock at all times so that they can be called off for delivery at short notice. It is a precise and sometimes complicated job.
Long before the shipments arrive in Rotterdam, he gathers all the information on incoming orders and the various delivery addresses and times. Both the suppliers and the customer have been working with TRACOS for many years, which ensures Dennis quickly has an overview of everything after the goods have left.
Since the customer opted for increased stock quantities at Rotterdam a few years ago, it is important there are short lines of communication with the warehouse. Dennis knows exactly what is located where and directs the warehouse to pick the order, stick, label, and sort by items, sizes, colours, etc.
Dennis: “The trick is to make sure all the items are readied by the warehouse with the correct documentation and scheduled for delivery, all at exactly the right time. The work often involves time pressure. But if I succeed without the customer noticing, I have done my job well.”
“With the current global problems such as coronavirus, congestion, delays, and the staff and driver shortages, it makes me feel good to be able to deliver on time nonetheless.”
Dennis about Ritra Cargo
If you’ve been with the same employer since 1999, it means you’ve found the right place. We asked Dennis why Ritra Cargo has been his safe haven for more than 23 years.
Dennis: “Lots of people at Ritra have worked here for a long time. You are given the freedom to organise your work the way you want, within certain parameters. The option to work from home is really nice too. There is an open structure: directors Ad and Martijn share our workspace, so it’s easy to walk over for a chat. Also, the ‘actions speak louder than words’ mentality also really appeals to me.”
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