Expert insight: Tools of the Multimodal Trade


Name: Tim van der Roest
Job Title: Samskip Fleet Manager
Work experience: 9 years in family-owned transport company; 11 years with Samskip

"Being pan-European brings scale economies, but that advantage can only be optimised if we consider every detail”

Floyd Mayweather probably doesn't think so, but he could do without one or two cars. By contrast, Samskip Fleet Manager Tim van der Roest makes sure every last truck, trailer and wagon at his disposal works to maximum potential to fulfil Samskip's ambition of getting freight “off the road and into the future”. 

Unlike the boxing and car-collecting legend, Van der Roest's interest is not in assets for their own sake, but in their function. “The objective is always providing the optimal operational support for the lowest integrated cost price,” says Tim. “That means equipment that is compatible with our cargo and the routes we serve, where total cost of ownership (TCO) is overriding; we only invest in equipment that best supports the customer. Up-time is a key element in procurement- as well as day-to-day decisions”

Total cost concept

Van der Roest has been with the Samskip organisation for 11 years, developing a rounded view of the partnership and transparency that the multimodal business expects from Fleet Management. The result is a clear logistics mission covering efficiency and cost control.

TCO in the hard-wearing trailer market requires resilient equipment from “Krone and Schmitz - the best in the market in terms of quality”. The road link in the multimodal chain also demands container chassis innovation, with Samskip recently introducing new units from D-TEC that shave 400kg off weight.  

However, much of the effort focuses on managing external suppliers, where over 200 Mercedes trucks, 700 trailers, 300 container chassis and 400 rail wagons are supported by service stations in the Benelux, France, Germany, Sweden and Latvia. Investing in the IT that allows Samskip to manage resources effectively is proving critical.

IT solutions

Operationally, one of the biggest factors is fuel; keeping costs down can prove competitively decisive. This is behind Samskip's agreement for drivers to use discount cards to ‘fill up' at Shell petrol stations all over Europe, but also for sophisticated equipment monitoring that takes in individual driver actions.

“In addition to fuel consumption, we started monitoring braking times and the time spent at cruising speeds. Being able to analyse that part of performance centrally means we can incentivise best practice.”     

Similarly, a frame agreement covering with Continental is augmented by a strategy to minimise tyre blow-outs by drawing on data from the innovative automated Ventech pressure/tread checking system to prompt action by terminal staff.

Productive M&R

For Van der Roest, however, no consideration is too small. Maintenance and repair (M&R) feedback led Samskip to adjust trailer mudguard positions by centimetres to address wagon-loading damage. An additional buckle to brace curtain-siders horizontally has addressed disruptions traced to the winds causing sidewalls to come loose when trains cross.  

“We need to be fully in control of our performance at every level to satisfy our customers, and that goes for end-users and ‘internal customers',” says Tim. “Being pan-European brings scale economies, but that advantage can only be optimised if we consider every detail.”

You can learn more about Samskip's equipment fleet [here] and more about its service network [here].

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