The story of Marco

Marco has been working as a truck driver for Schotpoort for almost 30 years. To find out what he does on a day-to-day basis, we climbed into the cabin with him.

Lorry driver Marco Maassen

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Marco Maassen, I am 48, I have 2 kids and I live with my daughter in Apeldoorn. I have been working at Schotpoort Logistics as a (mentor) driver since 2001.

What exactly does your job entail?

As a lorry driver, you are on the road every day transporting goods from A to B. I do this with my personal Schotpoort lorry, behind which I often have a mega-trailer or occasionally an LZV (Long Heavy Vehicles) combination. I drive all over the Netherlands and if necessary throughout Europe. Besides transporting the goods, I assist with loading/unloading using an electric pump truck.

Besides my role as a truck driver, I am also a mentor driver. As a mentor driver, I take people along in my truck to give them an insight into the life of a driver and impart the necessary practical experience. If the person going along already holds a CE licence and code 95, then they get to drive themselves and I will give some tips and pointers.

How did you find this job and Schotpoort?
I have been working as a lorry driver for almost 30 years and of these, 21 years at Schotpoort. At 18, I started driving for a local paper company, later I also drove for another transport company. I liked it there, but the company was very small and I was looking for something more financially secure because my daughter had just been born, which is why I applied for a job at Schotpoort.

What makes your job at Schotpoort challenging, fun and/or interesting?

As a lorry driver, I naturally enjoy being on the road the most, because that is what I do day in, day out. For me, it is very relaxed work with little fuss. I remember being very attracted to the profession since I was little, partly because of the many stories you heard back then. Driving big cars and, back then, looking for directions in a foreign country with a map on your lap, the adventurous side of the job is what appealed to me.

That’s why I did those trips abroad for a long time, especially when I was younger. Meeting Dutch drivers on the road in France and having a bite to eat with them in a well-known drivers’ bar is that romantised aspect I could always enjoy.

Because I started in the profession when TomTom and Google Maps did not yet exist or were not widely used, I had to find my way. This knowledge is still a big help nowadays as I know many routes just by heart and can take a different route in cases of traffic jams or other traffic obstacles.

Nowadays, I drive a bit more in the Netherlands and occasionally go abroad. Since 2016 I also have my LZV driving licence which makes driving a bit more challenging. Routes I normally drive suddenly become very different when driving with a 25-metre combination.

Besides my duties as a driver, I am also a mentor driver, working with young people who are enthusiastic and show interest in the profession is perhaps the most fun there is. As a mentor driver, I get to accompany them and take them on several trips. I always enjoy taking a moment to test an apprentice by asking them, for example, why they performed this manoeuvre in this way.

If I notice that someone is going a bit crooked because they are not looking properly in the right mirror, I ask “Are you looking in the right mirror?” often they say they are, but I still see that they are not. At times like that, I won’t correct them anymore, making mistakes is something you learn from.

Marco unloading a cargo of paper rolls
A parked Schotpoort LHV

What are the disadvantages or less pleasant parts of your job?

When young people ask me if the job is suitable for them, I always tell them the same thing: you work irregular hours, sometimes up to 15 hours a day. If you assume that you have a lot of time left during the week for club activities or your social life, you are wrong. As a lorry driver, your schedule can change every minute, so you might just have to pick up a cargo somewhere, which means you don’t finish at 6 o’clock but at 7.30 p.m. This is part of the job and you have to deal with it.

If you ask other people, the job of a lorry driver is not very hard or intensive – after all, all you would do is sit and drive. Even though we lorry drivers are on the road a lot, we often have to get out of the truck to assist with loading and unloading activities or to uncouple the trailer, which is done in all weather conditions. If it is 30 degrees outside and I am standing on the back of the hot tractor to uncouple the trailer count on it being heavy. The same with the goods we load, aluminium profiles are huge and heavy even with an electric pump truck.

Although I love the adventure and romance of foreign rides, you are alone in a foreign country. Once I woke up in the middle of the night because people were walking around the trailer. These people often try and steal precious cargo. At Schotpoort, we often drive with waste paper or rolls of paper that are not that attractive compared to for example electronics.

As a driver, you are completely dependent on the planning every day, they assist you and direct the activities. As a driver, you communicate with the planning department via an app. What I miss a bit with planning now, is empathy. Often the planning department is comprised of people who have less experience as truck drivers.

What do you think is the difference between Schotpoort and other logistics service providers?

In the 21 years, I have worked at Schotpoort, I have been able to make many beautiful trips and enjoy the atmosphere among colleagues. As a driver, you often work long days and you are not always home at 5 o’clock on the dot, but in general, I don’t mind this at all. If I had to, I could still spend a few days in my cabin just fine. But I have two children of my own and if they had a parent/teacher meeting or a year-end event, as a father I would like to be there. I do feel that in these kinds of scenarios, the options are carefully considered and as much as possible is done to ensure that I could attend those events.