The story of Alexandru

Alexandru has been working at LCE (Logistiek Centrum Eerbeek) as a clamp truck driver for several years. To get a better idea of his daily activities, we sat down with Alexandru for a chat.

Alexandru next to his clamp truck

Tell us about yourself.

I am Alexandru Trepadus. When I was 22 years old, I left Romania with my family to come and live in the Netherlands. I now live in Dieren with my wife and three children. For the past few years, I have been working as a clamp truck driver at LCE Eerbeek.

What exactly does your job entail?
I work two shifts at the LCE as a clamp truck driver. At this location, all paper rolls for a large producer of paper rolls are stored. The two-shift system means that I work the morning shift from six to two one week and the other week the afternoon shift from two to ten.

Because we work with heavy and large paper rolls at the LCE, we do not use the standard forklift trucks, but specialised clamp trucks. These have two vertical clamps instead of two forks so that we can move the rolls back and forth safely. With this truck, my colleagues and I handle loading and unloading activities at the LCE or at the paper mill itself. We also check stock levels every day and put bales of old paper on the factory conveyor belt; these bales are then recycled and reused for new rolls of paper.

How did you find this job and Schotpoort?
Before I started working for Schotpoort Logistics at the LCE, I worked for several other logistics service providers as a forklift driver. I finally came to Schotpoort via a temporary employment agency and started my job as a clamp truck driver at the LCE.

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

I have been doing my work for many years and with immense pleasure! The LCE is close to my home which means that I can catch a few more minutes of sleep which is nice. Working in two shifts allows me to earn a good salary whilst still having free time during my day. Whether it is early in the morning or late at night, I am always cheerful!

The work at LCE is dynamic and offers enough variation, driving the clamp truck is something I do with ease. The work is different but never drastically different from the day before, which is why there must be a pleasant atmosphere among colleagues. And there certainly is! You always work in the same team, so you know each other and the drivers who come to the site. We often joke around and have a chat in between the loading and unloading of the trucks.

The team is there for you, and you can feel that, I am always available when they need an extra hand. This means that I sometimes have to work on my Saturday off to fill in for a colleague, but then I know that my colleagues would do the same for me.

Even though we are a permanent team, sometimes students or people from an apprenticeship programme join us. I always enjoy seeing how motivated most of them are, regardless of how they do their work. If they show initiative and enthusiasm, I am always willing to explain things and help them out.

Alexandru operating the clamptruck to move a reel of paper
Alexandru loading a shunting truck

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

In general, I have few complaints. Yes, there are always days when someone is not feeling their best, which makes communication during work a little more difficult, but we always try to find a solution together. I notice, both from myself and my colleagues, that everyone has their own way of working; we all do the same job, just slightly differently. The order of actions, stacking rolls or clamping a roll of paper can be slightly different. Not that this method is necessarily wrong, but if we think someone could be more efficient or safer, we will call each other out, which can sometimes lead to an argument or irritation.

Other irritations or frustrations depend very much on the person I am dealing with, often we see the same regular drivers on the site. They know exactly how we work and what must happen before we can load the rolls of paper safely and efficiently. The trailer in which the rolls have to be placed must be cleaned properly and mats must be placed for the heavy rolls to rest on.

On average, a roll weighs about two tonnes, and to ensure safety and keep these rolls from tipping over, it is the driver’s responsibility to fasten and secure them. Occasionally the driver refuses to listen and then I can get angry, after all this is about the safety of me and my colleagues. If the driver refuses to get the trailer ready, I will leave; there is enough work on the LCE, and I can spend my time better helping someone else. In the end, the driver must leave anyway, so chances are that after a while he will clean the trailer.

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

I have been working in the logistics sector for more than 15 years and I have worked for several different logistics service providers, the working environment is always slightly different from what you are used to from your previous employer. What Schotpoort does very well in my view is appointing a permanent contact person for matters relating to the activities on the LCE. This is someone who spends a couple of hours at the LCE every morning and then works at the head office in the afternoon. Because of this approach, this location manager knows exactly what is going on at the LCE and in the morning, when everything is starting up, he can direct everything and keep an overview.

He is part of our team and therefore it is always easy for a team or an individual to go to him to arrange something. I have the feeling that our comments are listened to and that something is done to support us as best as possible.