The outbreak of the pandemic and the turbulent times that followed, forced many companies to make radical changes. Transuniverse Forwarding made a virtue of necessity. “Our company reinvented itself in several areas”, says Kevin Van Ongeval, director of Group Operations. Looking back over a turbulent but successful year.


“Today, almost the entire administrative team works from home and we aren’t planning to change that any time soon. The planners work on a rotation system, whereby they work partly in the office because they sometimes have to go to the cross-dock warehouse. Moreover, that warehouse is still forbidden territory for anyone who does not necessarily have to be there. Luckily, it is big enough to be able to work while adhering to ‘social distancing’ measures. For the sales team there were major consequences: they had to respond to changes in the market continuously but weren’t allowed to go out on the road. Making and maintaining contacts from behind a computer screens is a big adjustment”, Kevin clarifies.


“So, we had to reinvent our way of working. The crisis was also an excellent opportunity for reflection: what do customers want from us and how should we adapt to that? A lot of processes were examined closely and adjusted to make the organisation as ‘lean’ and efficient as possible. This translated into investments in IT – such as updating our customer portal and customs software – but also in new collaborations with strong partners. In Scandinavia, we now work with LEMAN, in Italy with Italmondo and more recently in England with Europa Road”, he adds.


“As a result of the pandemic the capacity is under pressure, which means each truck is planned more than optimally and every unnecessary kilometre is avoided. Consequently, the turnover from forwarding activities remained stable barring a few thousand euros, while the margins showed an increase”, says Kevin.


Increase in traffic despite the corona crisis

In terms of turnover, most of the EU countries did just as well – except for a few percent after the decimal point – as in 2019, which can be considered a success in a Covid year. But some countries did even better. Entering into partnerships with LEMAN and Italmondo meant the lines in Scandinavia and Italy were booming, so we were able to achieve fantastic growth in volume.


Ireland also experienced strong growth: the turnover increased by 11% last year compared to 2019. This was partly due to the takeover, two years ago, of the Ireland specialist GC Trans, but it’s also due to Brexit: business that was previously shipped via Great Britain, is now finding its way directly to Ireland.


Traffic to and from Tunisia is evolved favourably thanks to a change of agent (to AST) two years ago. Moreover, this traffic is steadily increasing.  


But it isn’t all r{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“655a1d73-7835-4210-9d6c-430ce1943e46″],”srcRootClientId”:””}osy: “We have noticed that the Turkish market is struggling due to the country’s economic situation.  As a result there is an imbalance between exports and imports, which is of course having an effect on transport prices”, Kevin ascertains.


What about after the COVID crisis?

“Overall, with a bit of compulsory working from home, we survived the period well. We have definitely also learnt a lot from it. Post-corona we will still continue working from home some of the time, even if the staff do come into the office more often. Working from home offers many advantages, but we have noticed that it is creating some distance. We are therefore going to focus more on communication to strengthen the relationship between the company and staff”, Kevin concludes.