H. P. Therkelsen (HPT) is a leading Scandinavian supplier of pan- European groupage services with a special focus on temperature sensitive cargo such as fresh and frozen food or pharmaceuticals. “We ship everything for which temperature is critical,” says Chairman of the Board Mogens Therkelsen, the grandson of the founder who managed the successful forwarding business for 45 years before handing over responsibility to his son Peter in 2012. HPT was established by Niels Therkelsen in 1918, exactly 100 years ago.
“This is really something special in a sector which has always been characterized by fierce competition,” states Mr. Therkelsen. “I am still around every day and supporting my son.” Today, HPT employs 300 people and is the number one provider of groupage services for piece goods in Scandinavia, handling imports and exports to and from destinations all over Europe. The sustained success of the company in the international logistics market is mainly a result of an exemplary management of change.
“Over four generations, we have always been able to recognize challenges as early as possible and adapted our services to new market and customer requirements to further develop the company,” explains Mr. Therkelsen. “This has been our strength for the last 100 years, and it will be our strength for the next 100, too.” Another crucial success factor is honesty, both within the company and with regard to customer relationships. “We are all human and make mistakes but we do not tolerate any lies,” says Mr. Therkelsen.
Every day, HPT has 260 vehicles on European roads, including modern, refrigerated trailers with multi-temperature compartments. “We have just purchased new trailers with their own photovoltaic panels on the roof for generating electricity for the cooling system and the electrical equipment of the towing vehicle,” Mr. Therkelsen describes the latest, future-oriented investment of the company. All HPT vehicles meet the latest emission standards and are replaced after four years to further improve the company’s environmental footprint. The vehicles are also equipped with advanced tracking solutions to follow them throughout Europe and have alarm systems informing the driver in case of a malfunction of the cooling unit.
HPT has its own warehousing facilities, including cold stores with different temperature zones, and operates its own, 24-hour repair and maintenance workshop to guarantee efficient service round the clock. Headquartered in Padborg, which is situated on the border with Germany, HPT has branch offices in Germany and Poland. “In all other European countries, we are working together with partners,” states Mr. Therkelsen. HPT is a member and one of the founding companies of the European Food Network (EFN), a network of 14 family enterprises specialized in temperature-controlled cargo.
HPT develops most services in close cooperation with its customers and always aims to meet their individual needs and preferences. “We recently designed a made-tomeasure supply chain solution for a French client shipping poultry and oysters to Scandinavia,” Mr. Therkelsen gives an example. “Based on the expertise we acquired in the project, we are now offering the same service for a customer in Italy.” While continuing to expand, HPT has to cope with two major challenges: on the one hand, increasing traffic and many roads being in poor condition and, on the other, the growing skills shortage in the logistics and transport sector.
“It is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified drivers in Denmark, Germany and Poland,” Mr. Therkelsen describes the situation. “We only hire drivers who speak Danish, German or English. This is why we also employ people from outside Europe.” HPT serves customers across Europe, including major supermarket chains such as Aldi, Lidl and Rewe or the food giant Nestlé. “Despite our relatively small size, we are competing successfully and have many large corporations as customers,” states Mr. Therkelsen. “We have been working together with our oldest customer, since 1955.”