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High and heavy – fast and flexible


De Rooy is a European market leader in custom-made transport. The company’s services include the international transportation of trucks and tractors, the distribution of domestic appliances and white goods as well as research and development in the sector of innovative transport methods. “We provide innovative transport solutions which are technically always one step further and customized to the demands of our customers,”

Sales and Marketing Director Dirk-Jan Zwagerman describes the philosophy of the flourishing family business, which is active in Europe, Russia and the Middle East, and has 450 own trucks and 562,000 m2 of storage space at its disposal. De Rooy was founded in 1923 as a transport company with a very wide portfolio. Since then, the company has developed into a specialized solution provider focused exclusively on a niche market, the high and heavy industry, the transport of only trucks and tractors.

“There is only one activity left: the storage and distribution of domestic appliances and white goods for Whirlpool,” says Mr. Zwagerman. “We have been working with them since the 1970s, doing their international transport, and in the early 1990s, they asked us whether we could do storage and distribution in the Benelux. We started that, and we are still doing it. Just the other week we signed the contracts for another six years.” The storage and distribution services are provided by a subsidiary, De Rooy Warehousing B.V., which is situated in Oud Gastel in the Netherlands. De Rooy also has a subsidiary in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was established in 2014. In addition, there is De Rooy Garage B.V., which specializes in the construction of the group’s own trucks. De Rooy employs a total of 800 people and turns over approximately 120 million EUR.

The most important business unit is High & Heavy, which manages the company’s international transports of trucks and tractors – more than 220,000 units per year. “We transport trucks and tractors from the manufacturers’ factories to the dealers,” explains Mr. Zwagerman. “A client comes to the dealer, the order goes to the factory, and when the vehicle is finished, we get the assignment to transport it to the dealer.” The transports are carried out by custom-made trucks specially developed and built by De Rooy to meet the clients’ individual requirements. “We can shift gear very fast according to the changing needs of the market,”

Mr. Zwagerman outlines one of the strongest points of the flexible family company. “Trucks are made bigger, wider, longer; and as transporters of those trucks to distributors and body builders, we always have to make sure that we can transport them. We have to adjust our own trucks accordingly, and we do that ourselves. We are very innovative in that respect. When a client develops a new truck, they invite us to come and look at it. So we know if it can be transported or whether we have to adjust our trucks.” De Rooy distributes trucks and tractors to dealers in the whole of Europe, Russia and the Middle East and works with leading commercial vehicle brands such as DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Scania and Volvo. “We have twelve clients: all the manufacturers of trucks and tractors with manufacturing plants in Europe,” says Mr. Zwagerman. De Rooy has a European network with its own compounds located in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK from where the company serves its customers while keeping empty drives to a minimum.

“Let’s say we are transporting DAF trucks to Lyon in France,” Mr. Zwagerman gives an example. “Then we have an empty truck in that area which does not bring in any money. So we go to Renault, which is close to Lyon, and try to get a contract for transporting trucks from there to the Netherlands. This way, we are driving around Europe, always loaded.” Trucks and tractors can be loaded on the same truck, and De Rooy is also allowed to mix brands as the company’s clients see the advantage of cost efficiency in doing that. The company concentrates on new vehicles only. “The market for used vehicles is too fragmented and provides no long term planning security,” explains Mr. Zwagerman. “In the new vehicle segment, in comparison, we work under long-term contracts with our clients.” Most buyers of new trucks or tractors want their vehicles to be brand-new when they get it from the dealer – with zero mileage – as opposed to trucks that are delivered on the road from factory to dealer.

“There is no one country that has a culture of exclusive delivery on the road,” states Mr. Zwagerman. “We may deliver one brand, and another brand may deliver on the road in the same country. It is a combination of country and manufacturer that determines the preference.” De Rooy loads as many trucks as possible to make a contribution to sustainable development and environmental protection. “We are the market leader because we can load an average of 2.5 to 3 trucks or tractors per transport vehicle,” says Mr. Zwagerman. “That is a lot compared to our competition. This benefits the environment and our customers as we transport the same number of trucks in a smaller number of transports. And we are continuously improving these aspects. Our compounds enable us to make the most ideal combinations without extra kilometers. In addition, our drivers are trained to drive as efficiently as possible.” This year, De Rooy has started a subsidiary in St. Petersburg to support the company’s expanding activities in the fast-evolving Eastern European and Russian truck and tractor markets.

“We are also thinking about developing the South American market as all our clients have production operations in Brazil,” explains Mr. Zwagerman. A special activity of De Rooy is its participation in the Dakar, the world’s most challenging truck rally. In 2012, the De Rooy team achieved the first and second place, and this year it arrived as the second competitor, only three minutes and eleven seconds behind number one, in a race of 55 hours. De Rooy has been participating in the Dakar since 1982. “In the Dakar rally, we show what we do. People know our name because of it,” states Gerard de Rooy, co-owner of the company, who won the Dakar rally in 2012. “After every race, the truck is pulled apart, checked, serviced and built up again.”

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