Clecat, the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services, based in Brussels, has a new President: Willem van der Schalk, Managing Director of a. hartrodt Deutschland in Hamburg, was last week unanimously elected for three years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the members voted by web conference for the first time. "These virtual meetings will have a lasting impact on business processes in the future," van der Schalk is convinced. He sees a new focus in the sign of the coronavirus for the Clecat presidency: "It is important to find pragmatic solutions together with the political side now in order to secure the supply chains."
Transport policy in Europe with one voice
Van der Schalk is concerned about independent national initiatives in the corona crisis, for example at border controls. "Instead of rushing ahead with individual actions, transport policy in Europe must speak with one voice," he demands. The idea of European unity has inspired him all his life: The 64-year-old with a Dutch father and German mother has lived and worked in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium during his career.
Contribute practical experience from a. hartrodt
As Clecat President, van der Schalk does not see himself in a representative role: "I would like to contribute my many years of practical experience.” Because a. hartrodt has its own offices in almost all European countries, van der Schalk knows "where the shoe pinches". One of his primary goals is to increase the number of members: "We must manage to get all European freight forwarders at one table.” The Brexit reduces the number to 18, the British International Freight Association (Bifa) leaves Clecat. Therefore Steve Parker of Bifa had to resign from his position as Clecat President. "When Covid-19 will be behind us, I am going to visit the national freight forwarding associations in Europe," announces van der Schalk.
The Managing Director of a. hartrodt is also Chairman of the Association of Freight Forwarders in Hamburg (VHSp). In organisational terms, the VHSp is part of the German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV) in Berlin and thus of Clecat. At DSLV van der Schalk was Vice President for many years.