USC end of season
I am writing this vacation greeting on a late Tuesday afternoon in July. The industrial area here in Deventer is already starting to get quieter. No doubt this has to do with the vacations that have already started around us. After next week it will be quieter here too. Everyone will then be able to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. After all, doing business today, with all the hectic pace of the world, has not become any easier. Please allow me to take you through the USC highlights of the past six months.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this year for a moment. After a final, ice-cold project in the Swedish winter of 2021, we kicked off 2022 in Ireland. In Clarecastle we were allowed to build a storage park for Clare Storage at a , beautiful farmhouse with ditto driveway. Ireland is still perfectly accessible as an EU country, England unfortunately is no longer. This resulted in a rather awkward “remote” delivery in Bideford for Tarka Storage. For us what this reason to greatly improve the manual and remote guidance for storage parks under construction.
In France, we were allowed to build several storage parks. Two for the Coisne family of Carrébox, one of which was in Valenciennes during wind force 11. At client PeriBox, with a park in the vicinity of Paris, the first container was there in no time at all. After which, following good French custom, excellent champagne and a delicious piece of meat was served.
The first project for Lager.de followed in April; a large container park in Spandau, Berlin. In April we were also finally able, after three years, to meet and strengthen our American colleagues again at the ISS trade show in Las Vegas. It’s great to see the U.S. self-storage market still years ahead of us. The developments underway there will hopefully await us in Europe as well.
Fortunately, we are not standing still in Europe either. The container operated storage market is maturing though. Something to which the European trade association FEDESSA is paying a lot of attention, with in England even a set award for the best container park. Challenges, of course, are also present. Acquiring suitable land for new parks is becoming increasingly difficult. For us, all the more reason to continue developing opportunities to go containers
No price drop
The troubled 2020/2021 season, which was dominated by Covid and the subsequent sharp rise in prices in the transportation industry, continued in 2021/2022. Price increases due to the sharp rise in transport costs from Asia were followed by the fall in the exchange rate of the Euro and the explosive rise in fuel costs. All this is sometimes difficult to justify to our customers. After all, these are the same containers that have become much more expensive in a short period of time. And a price drop is sadly out of the question for now.
International business and lots of travel are inextricably linked. By Covid-19, everything became different. Huge mountains of paperwork, filling out forms, applying for certificates, testing, vaccinations and other obligations made travel complex and time consuming. And there were big differences from country to country. Last winter, during the construction of a park in Vasteras, Sweden, corona was far away during the week with on-site catering fully open. After which we returned on Friday afternoon to the Netherlands which was in a complete lockdown.
Now that Covid has faded somewhat into the background, we are suffering from all the aviation woes. Many airports and airlines are suffering from a dire shortage of staff, resulting in constant flight cancellations or late departures and non-delivery of suitcases. Every time you leave, it’s just a question of how and when you can get back and via which airport.
Last week my brother Jan-Hein and I flew to Vienna and Milan. Three flights in two days, two of which were cancelled and one delayed. We were in a shared car from Cologne to Düsseldorf in the middle of the night so we could pick up our own car… Because of the farmers’ protests in the Netherlands, flying via Schiphol was also not an option.
Then a project we haven’t mentioned yet: that of rentbox24 in Erkelenz. Situated in Germany, this storage park owned by the Heuters family is just a thick hour’s drive from Deventer. Here we were able to realize a park of which we delivered the containers in a custom made green company color. A one-off. In this newsletter you can read an extensive interview with one of the owners of Rentbox24, Alexander Heuters.
To wit. We’re going to take a break. On behalf of team USC and my brother Jan-Hein, I wish you a wonderful vacation season.