Distrilog: Growth and Innovation Through Tailored Financial Solutions

Industry:Materials Handling

Distrilog Group supports businesses in a wide range of industries with warehousing and transportation services. The Belgian logistics company works for many major retailers locally, mainly focusing on food, from fresh to frozen. It also manages storage, order picking and transportation in chemicals, home improvement and maintenance, and the industrial sector. Distrilog offers transportation and freight forwarding services for dedicated customers. Behind the extensive 400,000 m2 warehouse space, 400 trucks, 700 forklifts and reach trucks, 1,600 employees and 18 locations are many innovations, which DLL co-finances via Crown Handling NV.

Philip Salaerts, Operations Director at Distrilog comments: "Without DLL and Crown, our growth opportunities would be really limited."

Without DLL and Crown, our growth opportunities would be really limited. "

From reach trucks to trailers
Distrilog has been working for more than ten years with equipment supplier Crown, which has an international partnership with DLL. In 2009, Distrilog acquired an important new customer and needed to grow its fleet with forty additional trucks, for which Crown was a natural fit. Crown sold the trucks to DLL, after which Distrilog started using them based on a leasing solution provided by DLL. This project marked the start of a great partnership. Later on, when Distrilog further expanded, the company contacted Crown again for 190 reach trucks and forklifts, and requested DLL to finance new trailers.

Challenges in the logistics industry
Salaerts explains: “Like all other players in the industry, Distrilog faces making huge investments to respond to two major challenges: labor market shortage and the need for sustainable solutions. This requires a transition from a labor-intensive company to a more capital-intensive company.”

1. Labor market shortage
Salaerts: "The logistics sector is facing huge labor shortages, which means companies need to invest in digitalization and automation. In recent years, for example, we have evolved from semi-automated to fully automated pallet wrapping machines, and we have invested in automated reach trucks."

Automation obviously requires capital, which is why Distrilog partners with DLL.

“Investing is not without risks,” says Salaerts. "It takes some time before you earn back your investment. It can take up to a year before your new infrastructure is fully operational. Through partnering with DLL, we can match payments with our cashflow and pay only when we use the equipment.”

Through partnering with DLL, we can match payments with our cashflow and pay only when we use the equipment."

2. Need for sustainable solutions
Two years ago, Distrilog made the environmentally conscious decision to invest in more sustainable solutions, switching from traditional trucks to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trucks.

"LNG trucks are currently the only greener alternative which is commercially interesting. But they are 50% more expensive than traditional trucks," explains Salaerts. "Such a change involves an investment of millions of euros."

Looking ahead, the ambition is to move to a fleet of fully electric trucks - a solution which is not yet profitable.

"There is so much more involved than just the machinery," says Salaerts. "For example, you need the charging infrastructure and a heavier high voltage cabin, as well as the flexibility to include charging moments in the planning plots."



Leasing as a total solution
What Distrilog appreciates most about the partnership with Crown and DLL is the fact that they can provide a total solution.

Lucie Ducuroir, Country Sales Manager CT&I for Belgium at DLL, explains what that means: "It's not just about buying a forklift truck, but also the repair & maintenance and insurance associated with it. If you can negotiate that entire package in one go and acquire it through one supplier, you can save a lot of time and effort. In addition to that, it is often a relief for the customer to know that their machines will be repaired by the manufacturer who knows everything about them. This way your fleet remains operational, has a longer lifespan, and the fleet equipment costs will decrease over time."

Interested in our financial solutions or want to learn more? Contact us now to discuss the options suitable for your business.

Steve Hope

Head of New Business Development


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