Always on board every Primafrio Actros trucks is the Mercedes ServiceCard
With a fleet of almost 2 000 trucks, Primafrio hauls a steadily growing volume of fruit and vegetables from the Iberian Peninsula to supermarkets throughout Europe. Always on board: the Mercedes ServiceCard*.
It looks like the construction of the gigantic transhipment hall has only just been completed – and already there are pallet trucks whizzing around the loading docks. They are moving lemons and oranges for a Swiss supermarket chain, onions for a customer in Hesse in Germany, and a great many other kinds of cargo. Welcome to Primafrio’s brand new cargo terminal in the Murcia region in southern Spain. Fruit and vegetables grown here and in the surrounding districts along the Mediterranean coastline need to be shipped to the consumers while still fresh and crisp. There is no time to waste for the transport company – work gets under way in the urgently needed new facility as soon as possible.
“Here we have 14 000 square metres of space and 108 loading docks for our cargo handling operation. As a result, the service we provide to our customers has improved already,” says Juan Conesa. The 45-year-old is running the enterprise founded by his parents in 1963 with great success: whereas Primafrio was still a medium-sized player with 120 employees back in 1990, today the team has grown into a workforce of 3 000 working in six locations in Spain and Portugal. The dispatch department alone, which is set to remain at the existing headquarters near the city of Murcia, is the size of a large indoor sports hall. In 2016 the staff here dispatched trucks transporting more than a million tons of fruit and vegetables. And the tonnage is set to increase further in 2017: the Spaniards recently purchased 600 Actros trucks in one go, stocking up their fleet from 1 700 to about 2 000 vehicles.
Always on board every Primafrio Actros trucks is the Mercedes ServiceCard, which is issued in partnership with UNION TANK Eckstein GmbH & Co. KG (UTA). “It provides us with a number of solutions, and we make use of all of them,” says Conesa. For example, the card allows drivers to refuel without the need for cash payments, and road toll fees are paid automatically. “If a vehicle breaks down due to a technical fault or an accident, we have access to Service24h.” The Mercedes ServiceCard also simplifies billing, for instance for VAT and mineral oil duty refunds, in many countries. These are all vital aids in making a complex business easier to run. The refrigerated trucks primarily call at destinations in western and central Europe, where they serve no fewer than 27 countries. On long-haul journeys Primafrio usually works with teams of two drivers to ensure that deliveries can be made as efficiently and flexibly as possible.
An added factor is that while the plantations and greenhouses on the Iberian Peninsula may yield a great deal, a considerable proportion of the produce is grown elsewhere: “Our customers expect us to supply them with the bulk of the produce all year round,” says Conesa. “We cannot guarantee this kind of uninterrupted supply from here alone so we are increasingly delivering produce from France and the Netherlands, especially in summer.” To boost transport capacities in those regions, Primafrio launched the joint venture Primaver together with the French transport company Réseau Primever in the spring of 2017. That’s how business is done!
2 to 10 degrees is the temperature inside the refrigerated trailers for most fruit and vegetable deliveries made by Primafrio.
More than just fruit.
While Primafrio originally built its reputation carting fruit and vegetables, the company established in 1963 has long since become active in other cargo segments as well. For instance cut flowers and food, some of which must remain frozen during transport. And an increasing number of their trucks carry pharmaceutical products, consumer electronics and video games. This segment, which extends beyond the company’s core business, has been expanding at a particularly fast rate. Last year it contributed over 40 per cent to the company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of around 50 million euros.
*Mercedes ServiceCard ist not applicable to the UK market