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A good eye for detail: Lars van de Merwe tells about the documentation department

IMG_0975.jpg03 sep

Lars van de Merwe is an employee at Vertraco’s documentation department. From the moment a booking comes in, he makes sure that all the information about the cargo is correct down to the smallest detail. “We ship almost everything: from trucks and excavators to potatoes and onions. For each type of cargo there is a specific way to draft the bill of lading, so it is important that we have all the correct and complete information,” says Lars.

“We ship almost everything: from trucks and excavators to potatoes and onions.”

Every other week a ship sets sail to the Caribbean. Beforehand the terminal in Vlissingen sends him the accompanying documents. “When the ship has been loaded, the work really starts.” He checks if all the information about the cargo is complete and correct, and subsequently sends the bill of lading to the customer for a last check. It is important that the information is correct, warns Lars, as the customs authorities in Suriname can often be very strict. “Sometimes there is a difference in the information that has been provided and the reality of a load. If this difference is too big, then we have to find out what is going on.”

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After a degree in port logistics, Lars started working at Vertraco. By now he has been part of the team for nearly 2 years. The relatively small and close-knit team makes for an enjoyable work atmosphere according to him. “Everyone knows each other, we know we can rely on each other, and we know who we have to ask if we need help with a problem.” Vertraco also offers Lars opportunities to learn and to keep developing himself professionally. Recently he was able to pursue an advanced diploma in port logistics next to his work. 

“Sometimes I get an email back from a customer with ‘thank you for the great service!’ – that always feels good.”

Lars gets fulfilment from a successful shipment. “On average, we issue around 200 Bills of Lading per departure. When we manage to send all cargo manifests out on time for a final check, it feels very rewarding.” Positive feedback from customers is also important to him. “Sometimes I get an email back from a customer with ‘thank you for the great service!’ – that always feels good.” 

Like many others, Vertraco has also felt the consequences of the Corona crisis. As a precaution everyone has started to work from home for at least 2 days a week. Even though this makes it difficult to coordinate between colleagues sometimes, Lars keeps a positive attitude. “Even though we work in two shifts, we strive to keep providing the same quality of service to our clients.”

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