Niche gives Zoology wings
With an increase of more than 137% to 7,605 tonnes, Dutch Zoologists was one of the trendsetters in IATA’s top 100 for 2021. Marc Verhaart’s forwarding company has now climbed to the higher regions on the list with a 19th place.
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As a niche player specializing in pets, such as pets, the company does not just want to be another kilo eater at Schiphol. Therefore, Verhaart is more interested in the revenue he generated with his exports on the IATA list last year. And with 20.5 million euros, he is also in the leading group at Schiphol.
According to the entrepreneur, Zoologists, which he founded more than fifteen years ago, has grown thanks to many phone calls, detailed professional knowledge and a good relationship with the airlines. “We see ourselves as an extension of the airline. As experts in our field, we provide everything on time with the necessary documentation and guidance. In addition, we book high quality goods with a high price tag. It is of course interesting for an airline.”
Verhaart mentions the air transport of a police dog as an example, which can easily cost 600 to 700 euros based on a volume / kilo calculation. A ‘plate’, hose for an air freight pallet, then gives a multiple, says the entrepreneur.
Never any problems
Due to the special relationship with the airlines, Verhaart was able to ensure sufficient cargo capacity last year despite the acute shortage of cargo space. “We’ve never had a problem getting our cargo on a plane.”
Furthermore, Zoologistics saw the volume increase last year due to ‘a number of large projects’ from regular customers, including a large poultry retailer. These included the export of large batches of hatching eggs, one of the company’s specialties. Verhaart: ‘The work actually remains the same whether you handle a shipment of 10,000 kilos or 20,000 kilos. Volume is only greater ‘. That freight supply can fluctuate from year to year, he adds. ‘We have had fewer major shipments this year due to the bird flu.’
The customer base grew again last year, which he attributes to the further consolidation and automation in the forwarding market. “We actually benefit from the acquisitions in our sector, because 1 and 1 are not 2, but 1.5 instead. We notice that many senders are not happy about suddenly having to deal with a larger party where customer contact is no longer central. These acquisitions relate only to more volume. But mass is not always a cash register. These large parties try to keep costs as low as possible through automation, and those who as a customer do not fit in can go. Senders will then contact us. We invest in that customer contact and thus prove the opposite of what all the booking platforms and large forwarding companies say all the time. There is definitely a future for us as smaller air freight forwarders with a focus on the customer and on niche markets. ‘
Niche air freight
The reputation as a niche player has a disadvantage, Verhaart must admit. »There are many regular customers who find their way to Zoologists for our specialties, but who are looking for other parties for general cargo. Our company name misleads them a little, but they can of course come to us for all shipments’, he emphasizes. ‘After all, we can make general cargo with our eyes closed.’ That’s why Verhaart recently launched the brand new Niche Aircargo brand.