Handling disasters

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As a bulk driver I have travelled many kilometres. I have been driving the iconic red Nijhof-Wassink trucks around Europe since 1985. Since 2006, I have primarily been involved with handling disasters as I drive a suction semi-trailer. This is a specially constructed trailer which can take products from silos. The dry bulk products are sucked into this silo trailer. This can for instance be products which were unloaded in the wrong silo, or a silo which is damaged to such an extent that the products have to be removed from the silo as quickly as possible for safety reasons.

Disaster work is certainly varied. You never know what you will face and it is often a matter of improvisation. When placing the silo, the need for emptying the silo is often overlooked. That is why I always have a discussion with the client at the location about how we can best approach this. Safety comes first here, where my colleagues and I also try to ensure that the quality of the incorrectly unloaded product remains intact. In this way we can transport the product to a new unloading address or return it to our client.

The work is very satisfying because I notice my work genuinely helps our clients. For example, I recently received a call from our Feed Logistics planning department on a Saturday afternoon. A farmer had been supplied incorrect feed and replacement feed needed to arrive quickly, as well as the old feed removed from the silo. The livestock had to be fed. That is when you immediately get on the road to solve the issue for our client, the farmer and the livestock. For disasters it is essential that you are flexible and solution-oriented. But I cannot carry out this job without the support at home. It is good to know that they accept that I am not always there and that when at home plans can be changed at the last minute. Fortunately, my family are also good at handling disasters.

Author:  Jan ter Harmsel
Jan ter Harmsel | Driver Dry Bulk Logistics

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