AATA: ”The communications are very friendly: what Van Duuren says they will do, they do”
Doing business with Van Duuren gives a warm feeling, says Armand de Koning of AATA, which principally represents African airlines. ‘It is a real partnership. If there’s a problem both companies join in looking for a solution, and when necessary we help each other. I believe that this human aspect is very important.’
‘Our core business is representing airlines that do not have an office at Schiphol. Freight traffic to Africa is our specialization,’ Armand de Koning explains. The collaboration with Interport, now Van Duuren, came into being more than twenty years ago, he adds. ‘I was looking for transportation options from Schiphol to Lisbon.’ The beginning of a good partnership, according to the owner of AATA, who took over the company from his father.
There are two departures to Lisbon per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. The goods that are transported on Tuesdays go by air on Saturdays to the recipient. The consignments that leave on Saturdays are taken by airfreight on the Friday flights. In addition, there are four departures to Madrid, from where the goods are flown to their destinations on the Canary Isles or in Africa.
Delivery schedules such as those to Lisbon can be shorter for other Van Duuren clients, but Armand is very pleased with the way things are going currently. ‘Moaning about time is something that is purely European,’ he laughs. ‘In Africa they are more flexible about things. I have sometimes done my very best to get something to the client’s destination quickly, only to find that the goods are still lying in his warehouse three days later.’
It goes without saying that it’s important that agreements that have been made are fulfilled, but actually this always goes well, according to Van Duuren’s client. ‘If I have had a couple of problems in all these years, it’s saying a lot. My contact with planners Roy and Levi in Badhoevedorp is really very good. We tackle problems together, without the intervention of a manager.’
Although it might seem simple, there are a lot of things that a carrier has to take into account when it relates to airfreight, says Carla van Oostveen, account specialist and the designated contact person for southern Europe at Van Duuren. ‘Schiphol has a lot of security regulations, and our drivers are trained to adhere to them. They must renew their certificate every five years.’
One of the regulations is that the truck must be locked when driven to the airport, says Carla. ‘At Schiphol the vehicle is sealed with a lead seal that must be unbroken when it arrives in Lisbon. Otherwise the load is not secure, and must be re-scanned. That costs time and money.’
When necessary, Van Duuren also ensures that all the customs paperwork is in order. For freight outside Europe this takes a certain expertise, and Van Duuren has this available thanks to many years of experience.
We are certainly looking for potential growth, Armand concludes. ‘I would really like to do business with Italy and France. This has not happened up to now, but if it comes to it I will certainly call in Van Duuren. Together we will continue on the way, onwards and upwards.’