In control

Family-owned since 1918 when it was established by Niels Therkelsen in Logumkloster, Denmark, H. P. Thekelsen A/S has grown over the years thanks to strategic investments and an ability to adapt to market trends, as CEO Peter Therkelsen begins: “In the last two decades alone we have changed the business into a more niche-focused organisation where we solely operate in the refrigerated logistic segment, which means we do groupage logistics all over Europe in segments that require refrigerated transport and warehouse logistics. Previously we were involved in all segments when it came to transport, however the decision to focus on a niche area was made while my father was in charge when he saw a need to focus the business on one key area instead of doing a little of everything. You have to find your speciality in order to survive long-term, which is why we chose an area of transportation that is highly complex but is also unlikely to be affected by a crisis in society. People always need food, whether a crisis takes place or not.”

Operating in Padborg, Denmark, the company has a 1600 square meter coldstore at minus 22 degrees, an 8000-square metre chilled warehouse that has space for 7000 pallets, and a garage and washing facilities for its trucks and trailers. Today in its fourth generation and with Peter at the helm, H. P. Therkelsen operates with a team of 300 personnel serving hundreds of customers, ranging from international firms such as Nestlé Group, which it has worked with for more than 60 years, to small and medium sized companies. “This widespread customer range suits us very well and the reason customers such as Nestlé, Nordic Seafood, Tulip and Royal Greenland have remained loyal to us is that we focus on high quality services and deliveries at a fair price. This has been a recipe for success for us and complements the culture that we have developed throughout the entire organisation, which customers also find suitable to their needs,” says Peter.

Customers naturally also appreciate H.P. Therkelsen’s long-term expertise in logistics and service solutions when it comes to the road transportation of goods across Europe – a strength that is enhanced by the company’s staff members, all of whom are experts in the transportation of temperature sensitive goods, such as frozen, chilled and fresh foods, as well as pharmaceutical items and industrial goods. Around 90 per cent of all import and export shipments transit its transportation and terminal centre before being forwarded on to their chosen destination within H.P. Therkelsen’s routing system.

During transportation, the company remains in control thanks to its IT systems that ensure its employees always have an overview on developments, which in turn ensures it is able to inform customers on the location of their shipment and its nature. To further enhance its capabilities in this area and boost its competitiveness in the market, H.P. Therkelsen has recently invested in IT systems, as Peter notes: “We have experienced great interest in the chilled warehouse logistic solutions, which is something we have experienced over the last three-to-four years and even more now than ever before. In line with this development, we have invested in new chilled warehouse facilities and a new state-of-the-art warehouse management system. On top of this, we have a lot of projects ongoing with regards to IT investments, which will ensure we are even more productive and transparent towards our customers. This is something that will become more of a requirement in the future, when everything will need to be more reliable, transparent and faster than it is today.” In line with this focus on IT enhancements, the company is looking into robotics and artificial intelligence in areas of the business where there are repetitive processes.

Peter says part of the reason such investments have been possible is the ongoing success of H.P. Therkelsen, which has gone from strength-to-strength over the last five years: “After the crisis in Europe a lot of shipments went from FTLs to groupage because there was no warehousing any more; it became the rolling warehouse on the road, which is where our niche was before. We could see a rising demand in this segment as people began to book three shipments of three pallets for three deliveries in one week instead of one shipment of nine pallets for one week. This change was hugely beneficial to us and played a part in our strengthened financial results, however these opportunities can only be gained if you have the service package and culture in place to meet the market’s needs.”

Furthermore, since 2013 H. P. Therkelsen has been a founding member of the European Food Network – a co-operative partnership between renowned European providers of food logistics in the chilled segment. “Through this network we are able to serve our clients with high qualified and reliable logistic services from every deserted or urban place in Europe to Scandinavia and vice versa. This is a strength which no other network in Europe has,” Peter comments.

Alongside continued IT investments that will enable H.P. Therkelsen to meet the changing demands of customers and the market alike, the company is also seeking to invest in new services in strategic locations such as Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. “In the past it was Germany and surrounding countries that had the most focus for us in terms of generating business, however we are seeing growth in areas of southern Europe. As such, we have invested in these countries to get service lines that can be used by our clients in Scandinavia who purchased their goods in these countries. The lines are set up already, but we need to continue investing in them so customers realise the potential and possibilities of using these services,” says Peter.

“This is a positive thing about being a family owned company, we can adapt to possibilities very quickly, which means we can react to the market and be opportunity driven while also maintaining healthy organic growth,” he concludes.

HP Therkelsen A/S
Specialists in transport and logistics solutions
Focused on temperature claiming cargo shipments
Investing in IT and new service lines to ensure continued growth