The power of numbers

Dutch company Schenk Tanktransport are reaping the benefits of operating Volvo lightweight trucks in an increasingly competitive market.

Using new lightweight Volvo FHs and Volvo FMs, Schenk Tanktransport has been able to increase its payload substantially.

Brothers Harry and Arjan Schenk are the third generation of a successful Dutch family transport dynasty. And in a sector where profitability depends on running tank trailers at maximum capacity, new lightweight Volvo FH and Volvo FM trucks are proving all-important to their operations. With zero compromise on safety and comfort, the trucks are now able to deliver increased payload via weight reduction. Since 2014, several key specifications have been made possible on the base vehicle, resulting in a significantly lower gross weight. “Our ideal truck would be a Volvo FH 4x2 T, weighing under seven tonnes,” says Harry Schenk. “This is the ‘magic’ limit - the unladen weight for vehicles that handle combined regional and long haul transports. That’s a vital combination for us.”

 

The Schenk  family

The Schenk success story continues under the stewardship of brothers Harry and Arjan. Their dad Arie, here together with Schenk driver Peter Verkooijen, is still involved in the business.

Filling a Schenk tank

Due to increasing competition, Schenk decided to invest in its first tanker. That investment ultimately led to a fleet of more than 700 tankers.

When maximising payload possibilities, Harry illustrates the importance of doing the maths. “If one tanker is used on an annual basis to transport about 1,400 loads, then a 50 kg gain in payload alone translates into roughly 70 tonnes of cargo per year. On 100 vehicles that’s 7,000 tonnes and in a five-year perspective we’re talking about 35,000 tonnes. That’s the power of numbers for you. The potential payload increase is huge.”

Started by the brothers’ grandfather back in 1925, Schenk have been predominantly transporting liquids and gases since the 1950s, when they established links with various oil companies. A wide list of clients now includes giant multinationals such as Shell, BP, Air Products and Linde. Their headquarters are ideally situated on the main highway to the east of Rotterdam, between the city’s vast port area and Germany and other major European markets. “We transport mainly from storage depots, factories and refineries,” says Arjan Schenk. “These are usually located around major seaports such as Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg. The products find their way to all kinds of customers in the Benelux and Germany in particular, but also to almost all other European countries.”

Peter Verkooijen

Schenk driver Peter Verkooijen is at the Gate Terminal in the port of Rotterdam to receive a consignment of Liquefied Natural Gas.

Schenk’s relationship with Volvo Trucks dates back to 1947. According to Arjan, the ability to customise Volvo trucks for the very specific assignments in Schenk’s remit appeals to them. “Volvo Trucks have been flexible and extremely comprehensive. This enables us to sometimes give vehicles a ‘second life’ in our company, while the wide variety of specifications means that we can deploy Volvo vehicles for virtually every type of transport we do.”

With over 500 Volvo trucks now in service, Schenk’s operations are heavily reliant on a positive partnership. Maximising uptime is crucial, acknowledges Arjan. “Our calculations are based on maximum deployable hours and days per year, and we ensure we have enough drivers to meet this uptime. Volvo Trucks understand what is important to us, and are happy to contribute in all kinds of ways. Safety, total cost of ownership, unladen weight, look, and driver comfort are our key criteria when investing in trucks. That’s why the lightweight vehicles represent a sound investment.”

 

Schenk Tanktransport’s Volvo FH.

Schenk Tanktransport’s relationship with Volvo Trucks goes back to 1947. Today, 70 per cent of the company’s 700-vehicle fleet are Volvos.


The port of Rotterdam is vast and seemingly endless. Europe’s largest by a distance, it stretches far west of the city, kilometre after kilometre past container yards, chimneys, pipes and gas holders onto the Maasvlakte, an area reclaimed from the sea that has extended the port even further in recent years. It’s a cold, wet January day as Schenk driver Peter Verkooijen arrives at the Gate Terminal to receive a consignment of Liquefied Natural Gas. “This trailer is bound for Austria,” he tells us. With thirty years driving experience, Peter first drove one of Schenk’s lightweight Volvo trucks around a year ago. “The first thing I noticed was the feathering, there’s definitely more spring in the truck and you feel the difference in weight. What I like most about the lightweight cabs is that there are no concessions made to space. For a tall guy like me, having as much legroom as possible is important. The seat is really comfortable and the functionality is just what I would expect from a Volvo truck.”

The wide variety of specifications means that we can deploy Volvo vehicles for virtually every type of transport we do.

Arjan Schenk

Owner Schenk Tanktransport

Harry Schenk

Harry Schenk, co-owner of Schenk Tanktransport, believes that providing the best trucks available helps the company to find and retain good drivers.

Back at headquarters, the Schenk brothers are preparing to travel to various clients based in Belgium and Germany. It’s clear when talking to them that they place huge importance not only on the needs of their clients, but on attracting the best drivers in the business. To this end, they have been conducting inhouse training for several years. “The success of our company is based on good drivers and staff,” says Harry. “To meet this challenge, in addition to the basic conditions, making the best trucks available is a way of finding and retaining people. After all, drivers spend so much time in their trucks and professionals want to work with the best tools.”

Transporting liquids and gases is a complex business. As well as the huge ranges in temperature and conditions involved, extreme care must be taken during loading, unloading and transport. That Volvo’s lightweight range are built and tested to the highest standards means they can be trusted with the most sensitive cargo. “Our customers always demand top performance when it comes to safety. It’s what our business stands or falls on,” says Arjan Schenk.

Arjan Schenk

Arjan Schenk, co-owner of Schenk Tanktransport, has no doubt that lightweight trucks are a sound investment.

Transporting liquids and gases is a complex business. As well as the huge ranges in temperature and conditions involved, extreme care must be taken during loading, unloading and transport. That Volvo’s lightweight range are built and tested to the highest standards means they can be trusted with the most sensitive cargo.  “Our customers always demand top performance when it comes to safety. It’s what our business stands or falls on,” says Arjan Schenk.

With the future in mind, Schenk are expanding and adapting their fleet of lightweight trucks all the time. “For efficient use of our trucks, it’s critical that they are reliable,” adds Harry Schenk. “As we use them so much – sometimes up to 7,500 hours per year – a low unladen weight is very important. After all, with such intensive use, every kilo of cargo counts. We set ourselves up as our clients’ own transport department, and are aware of the specific features that set us apart. An eye for both detail and the big picture. We are proud of our employees and proud of our customers.”

 

As we use the trucks so much – sometimes up to 7,500 hours per year – a low unladen weight is very important.

Harry Schenk

Owner Schenk Tanktransport

Lightweight specifications for Schenk's Volvo FH Trucks under 7 tonnes

Schenk’s lightweight specifications.

Schenk’s lightweight Globetrotter trucks are specified to increase payload while providing the highest standards of safety, uptime and driver comfort. The total extra payload is 278 kg.

The largest range of truck specifications on the market

From 2014 forward, a large number of improvements have been made to save weight on Volvo trucks, including on materials, engines, axles and chassis. In some applications this has resulted in 500-600 kg weight reductions compared to a traditional configuration.
Volvo Trucks now has the lightest truck for the job – without compromising safety, performance or quality. No matter the assignment, you can choose the right configuration to improve your payload. 

Contact your local Volvo dealer to find out more.

Schenk Tanktransport

History: Schenk started as a family company back in 1925. Today, Harry and his brother Arjan Schenk are the 3rd generation to run the company.
Services: Schenk is dedicated to the transportation of liquids & gases, including fuels (40 per cent).

Transport Environment

Established in: 1925.
Owners: Harry Schenk, Arjan Schenk.
Number of employees: 1,400.
Vehicle fleet: Around 700 trucks (of which around 70 per cent are Volvos).
Drivers: 1,200.
Major load: Liquids including fuels and gases.
Extra payload: 278 kg.
Territories covered: BeNeLux, Germany and other countries in Europe.
Major customers: Shell, BP, Air Products and Linde.

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