Farm Trans & Sustainability: Interview with Edwin Vrolijk – Fleet Manager
27 | 07 | 2023
Could you describe your approach to sustainability?
‘It starts with being part of the conversation and staying on top of the latest developments. We’re present at almost every sustainability fair and workshop. We have think tanks and work with a range of consultants. It’s a large investment of time and energy, but I find it really important. It helps us gain a lot of insight that we use to then make the right decisions. That can be tough. For example, is now the time to invest in electric traction engines? Some of our trucks have to drive 300 km to reach their destination. So if an electric traction engine has a range of 200 km and there are no charging points available yet, it might not be the right choice, at least not right now.’
What actions is Farm Trans currently taking to make transport more sustainable?
‘All our trucks are less than five years old. Technology has developed so rapidly over the past decade that driving older trucks means significantly more emissions. We also carefully consider what kind of engines we need. Buying 500 HP engines makes little sense if we only need 460 HP. But it’s not just about what we drive, it’s about how we drive. In the Farm Trans Academy, we train our people to adopt a sustainable driving style. Our trucks monitor their driving behaviour, which allows us to continuously provide feedback and coach them. We’ve also invested in adaptive cruise control: a system that reads maps and calculates how to drive in the most fuel-efficient, sustainable manner. These are all small but important steps to take while we wait for the right moment to take bigger ones.’
Looking to the future, how do you see sustainability develop within Farm Trans?
‘We need to keep investigating sustainability from multiple perspectives to find the most effective solutions. For example, if we switch to an all-electric fleet, which then requires a coal power station somewhere to provide us with energy, we’re not solving the problem, but merely moving it elsewhere. We can make our own operation more sustainable, but we’re not alone in this world. We need to view our actions in relation to the world around us to ensure they serve their purpose. For example, our sister company Farm Frites is building a 25 hectare solar farm that will provide energy for their factory. If we could use that solar park to charge our electric trucks, it would be a truly green solution. Our motto is “driving food forward”. I’d like to add “sustainably” to that. If those two can go hand in hand, I’m convinced everything will work out.’