South Tyrol is known for its vineyards and orchards, which benefit from perfect growing conditions in the region’s warm, sunny climate. In addition to producing highly drinkable wines, South Tyrol is also known for its fruit-based spirits and liqueurs. As well as enjoying a strong home market, many South Tyrolean and other Italian producers export throughout the world with the help of Alpentrans Logistics.
“Last year, we sent 134 million bottles on their way to customers around the globe,” says Project Manager and shareholder Michael Huez, whose father founded the company in 1984. “I have worked in the family business since 2004 and have specialized in the fields of marketing and IT rather than the operative side. The possibilities that new technologies open up for us to increase efficiency are particularly interesting to me.”
The last two or three years in particular have seen Alpentrans Logistics invest heavily in its IT systems. “Cross-border alcohol transport is much more complicated than you might think,” says Mr. Huez. “Alcohol is a particularly sensitive product because each country has its own regulations and taxes. We take care of all the red tape and legal bureaucracy on behalf of our clients. Customs documentation is generated automatically, and we ensure that the correct taxes and import duties are paid on the alcoholic beverages we transport.”
Thanks to its long experience and specialization in the alcohol transportation sector, Alpentrans Logistics offers an unparalleled insight into the business, including its challenges. “South Tyrol suffers from certain geographical disadvantages when it comes to its transportation infrastructure,” says Mr. Huez. “The opportunities to transport goods by rail are limited, which is why three quarters of our transportations are by road. However, the Brenner Pass crossing the Alps between Austria and Italy is infamous for its traffic jams.”
A new rail tunnel between Rosenheim and Verona is currently under construction, but it is not scheduled for completion until 2026. Until then, Alpentrans is working to offset the higher costs of transportation by adding value through its logistics service.
“We were founded as a transport company but today we operate as a logistics provider, offering a complete service,” says Mr. Huez. “In addition to our headquarters in Salorno, we have logistics warehouses in Ora, Verona and Montichiari. In September of this year we will be opening new premises in Verona, while 2018 will see the establishment of a warehouse in Munich.”
Growth is a key part of Alpentrans Logistics’ agenda for the coming years. “We want to expand still further with new offices and warehouses in strategic locations,” says Mr. Huez. “The big challenge for us is finding the right people to help us grow the company in a highly demanding environment.”
The trends currently driving the logistics sector include just-in-time deliveries. As customers focus increasingly on their core business, they will entrust more and more of their logistics needs to companies like Alpentrans.
“The logistics solutions of the future will rely even more heavily on advanced technologies and IT-based solutions,” says Mr. Huez. “We have to offer smart solutions that add value for our clients if we are to compete in this particularly challenging economic climate. Nevertheless, we are growing as a company and are willing to innovate. If we can keep up now in the current climate, then when the new Brenner Base Tunnel finally opens, we will be in an even stronger position.”