In order to provide people across the world with potatoes, we distribute seed potatoes from the Netherlands or grow them locally (in Europe). The task of distributing seed potatoes is primarily based in the Netherlands. For this reason, more transport movements take place in the Netherlands, compared to other countries. Transport is the biggest element in HZPC’s CO2 footprint. The challenge is to organise logistics as efficiently as possible in order to limit the number of transport movements.

Optimising Transport working group

In 2018, the ‘Optimising Transport’ working group was created. This group aims to formulate targets and draft/implement an action plan to reduce the impact of transport on the environment.

We have formulated three targets:

  • Optimising transport movements/reducing partial loads
  • Enlarging/optimising container transport via internal waterways in 2020
  • Contributing towards the transport sector's targets (TLN) whereby the aim is to reduce CO2 by 49% in 2030, compared to 1990


Measurement enables management: insights into CO2 emissions via the Big Mile platform

We use three major transport companies to distribute our seed potatoes. And just like HZPC itself, we also use the Big Mile data platform. We would also like the two other transport partners to report via this data platform. The data platform enables insights to be gained into emissions and the efficiency of how transport is organised.

CO2-emissions for sea transport

(kg CO2 per ton of transported product)

The calculation for sea transport for 2018/2019, only included validated figures from transporter Greensea.

CO2-emissions container transport

(kg CO2 per ton of transported product)


More bulk transport

We would like to focus on using internal waterways for freight. Transport by truck has a greater impact on the environment and is costly. 946 of the 2380 containers (carrying 27.5 tonnes of potatoes per container) were transported to the port of Rotterdam in the 2018/2019 period via Dutch waterways. The CO2 saving compared to road transport was 1,143.216 tons of CO2.

In 2018/2019, we had to use more road transport and less inland shipping. Our aim is to use inland waterways as much as possible for container transport. Inland waterway transport takes longer. The reasons we used it less are:

  1. The harvest in 2018 was exceptionally late due to weather conditions. The products were available very late as a result, but the products can't be planted out any later. That is why we opted for quicker transport methods and used road transport instead of inland waterways.
  2. The 2018 harvest was extremely small and there were a range of quality issues as a result of the dry summer. The exceptional circumstances meant that a high degree of focus was required to draft the plan of which customers would receive which batches, in order to fulfil local demands as effectively as possible. Shipping was delayed as a result of this too. Transport by roads was selected to try to recuperate some of these delays.

We want to move towards a greater volume of bulk transport. To realise this, the current logistics movements must first be analysed and then we must draft a plan for a smarter, more efficient transport process. The figures for bulk transport per circuit were not available at the time of this report’s publication (May 20th 2020).


Selecting transport companies with a sustainability programme

We expect our transporters to apply a clearly formulated sustainability policy. Our preferred partners have an inventory list referring to sustainability.

We are working alongside our shipping transporters to assess whether we can use their new, environmentally friendly ships. Whether this works depends on the routes used in the autumn of 2020. There are ongoing negotiations with internal shipping companies about CO2 emissions, the use of the Big Mile data platform, and incorporating all transport under one roof.

We are also focussing on the option of collection transport. We would first like to test whether this would be feasible and effective for us to provide. A trial will start next season with transport to Portugal.

Less transport: Local for local cultivation at SBA Europe*

We are capable of significantly reducing the transport kilometres for seed potatoes and potatoes. We can do this via local cultivation. As a result, we can meet demands in countries where HZPC has seed potato production areas. In 2018/2019 HZPC produced more than 19,630 ha of seed potatoes in Europe. Around 70% of this production took place in the Netherlands. (SBA Europe: HZPC Holding BV’s Strategic Business Area Europe)

In Europe, HZPC has eight countries which produce seed potatoes. The seed potatoes sold in these countries were locally produced for local growing. We would like to see local growing being expanded, wherever possible. We are therefore growing on a ‘local for local’ basis in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands and in Russia.

Seed potatoes produced locally as a share of the overall seed potatoes sold in European producing countries including the Netherlands:

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
85% 84% 80% 82% 81% 80%

A new calculation has been applied to these figures.

In countries where HZPC has local production, top-quality seed potatoes are often imported from the Netherlands to be grown in several generations. The seed potatoes are then released onto the local market for the production of ware potatoes. HZPC is aiming to produce more top-quality seed potatoes in seed potato growing countries.  Exports to other countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa mostly occurs from the Netherlands.

Setting up local facilities for the production of mini-tubers

We are working on creating local production facilities for mini-tubers in various countries including Russia, India and China. We are also exploring the possibilities for selling potato seed.