Responsible, professional & independentsince 1932
As an owner-managed logistics company, we have been transporting and storing our customers' goods, commodities and raw materials for almost 90 years.
The first customer
In 1932, Berthold Vollers took the decision to become self-employed as a port inspector and warehouse clerk in the Hanseatic city of Bremen. Due to his activity as a shipping clerk, he had gained comprehensive knowledge on coffee and expertise regarding port, customs and product processing.
The first warehouse was located in the Packhaus Am Deich 57/58. Berthold Vollers immediately acquired his former employer Roselius & Co (Coffee-HAG) as his first customer and was allowed to serve it.
After the 2nd World War
During the Second World War, almost all coffee imports were discontinued, and the roasters had almost nothing to roast. Berthold Vollers served in the marine during the War, and when he returned, his workplace had fallen victim to the War. He had nothing left.
When, at the end of the 40s, coffee was imported again, Berthold Vollers revived his company and, with a surface of 325 m², he rented premises in the new Speicher I based in the area of the domestic port in Bremen.
The first commercial employee
Berthold Vollers appointed the first commercial employee in 1952. Now, apart from coffee, his port inspection office also started storing canned food.
The next generation
Lüder Vollers joined his father’s company in 1962, which at this time already had five employees. The purchase of the first own truck in 1965 started the formation of an own vehicle fleet. With the takeover of the neighbouring company Friedrich A. Jantzen in 1967, the desired storage surface became a part of the company, which allowed further growth.
New storage spaces
In 1972 the construction of Haus 8 in Speicher III started. Therewith the storage space in the port increased to 8,400 m², and the number of Vollers employees had grown to 50 by this time. Lüder Vollers became the sole company owner in 1978 and this resulted in additional company takeovers. Here, for instance, the purchase of Hermann Schwarze GmbH provided additional business in the field of wool and cotton imports, processing and storage as well as additional storage place.
Due to the increasing utilisation of containers as well as progress in liner shipping, the processes for coffee handling also changed. To do justice to the new requirements, work started in Haus 9 in Speicher III, with an own palletising facility in 1979.
Vollers Hamburg was founded
Vollers radius extended: in 1980, the subsidiary was founded in Hamburg where, initially, one employee was responsible for processing the coffee business.
In the course of this, the company name also changed: while Berthold Vollers had called his company 'office for goods inspection and storage', this subsequently turned into 'freight forwarding' and even later yet, when international expansion increased, an 'international freight forwarder'. An additional change regarding the language was still to be added in future: within the course of an increasingly growing international circle of customers, the products became so-called commodities, which is the commonly-used English word for products or raw materials in the trade business. This was also incorporated in the official company name: Vollers Port & Commodity Logistics.
50 years of Vollers
In 1982, there was cause for celebration: Vollers turned 50. In the meantime, the company employed 125 people, of which ten were apprentices; a total storage space of 28,000 m² as well as 19 trucks. At this time, almost 90 per cent of Vollers’ services revolved around the handling and storage of green coffee. Other commodities were wool, cotton as well as so-called general cargo, such as East-Asia imports and brand items.
Increasing the storage capacity
Due to acquisitions of other competitors, Vollers could expand its market presence and secure additional storage surfaces and expertise. D.A. Homann was taken over in Hamburg in 1983, which processed a broad range of goods and commodities in the Port of Hamburg. The takeover of Uhlmann Spedition, a tradition-rich company in Bremen, in 1984 also increased storage capacity.
ICE Futures Europe
1987 was of decisive significance for Vollers’ cocoa business in Bremen. Bremen was officially recognised as a delivery place for the London stock exchange LIFFE (nowadays referred to as ICE Futures Europe). Decades of preparatory work as well as profound product knowledge had made this possible.
Bulk instead of in bags
At the start of the 90s, Vollers took over additional companies in Bremen and Hamburg. The largest and decisive takeover occurred in 1993, when Vollers bought the coffee storage “Kaffee-Lagerei Bremen”. Since coffee was increasingly being transported in bulk instead of bags, a silo facility became a necessity. At this time, the coffee storage was in possession of such a facility, and this provided Vollers with significant advantages in the future coffee business.
At the same time, Vollers was also expanding in East Europe. In 1993, SIA Vollers Riga was founded in Latvia.
Expanding in Western Europe
In Western Europe, further locations were opened. In 1995 the subsidiary Vollers Belgium in the port of Antwerp was founded. Antwerp is located in the north of Belgium, with the second-largest seaport in Europe. Today, the Belgian city at the mouth to the North Sea of Schelde is considered an important port for the handling of bulk products.
The first branch in the Netherlands
In 1997 the location Rotterdam in the Netherlands started its operations. To ensure that the company structure would be more clearly arranged in the following years, a majority of the taken-over individual companies were condensed into Berthold Vollers GmbH in the middle of the 90s.
The next generation
Born 1973 in Bremen and being the grandson of the founder, Berthold Vollers, Christian Vollers started his career with a solid education as a logistics manager at Kühne & Nagel AG Bremen, followed up by a Bachelor of Arts in supply chain management, a Master of Management as well as a number of internships in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Latin America and Uganda before he entered what was then his father’s business in 2001 and became managing director in 2006.
Vollers' new location in Amsterdam
Vollers also kept on growing in the new millennium. In 2003, the Amsterdam location in the Netherlands was added. Here at the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal) as well as at the mouth of Amstel and IJ into the IJsselmeer, about 20 per cent of the international cocoa harvest is handled. As such, Amsterdam is considered the largest cocoa port on earth.
A new location in Eastern Europe
In 2004, a new branch was opened in Tallinn in Estonia. Mainly cocoa is unloaded and stored in this port. Tallinn is the most important hub between the east and west in the northern part of the Baltic Sea.
The first location in Italy
The location in Trieste in Italy started its operations in 2005. Trieste has the largest seaport in the northern Adriatic and is as such the maritime gateway for customers from Italy, the south of Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the Balkans. The location and the flourishing coffee house culture in the 18th century resulted in Trieste becoming the leading coffee port of the Mediterranean.
Expansion outside the European Union
Since 2007, Vollers is represented with OOO Vollers in Belye Stolby at Domodedovo, in the south of Moscow, and from here offers its logistics services for the Russian market. Apart from the storage of general cargo and commodities, our expert team also organises transports, imports and customs for coffee, cocoa and cotton.
The Vollers Group
In 2009, all companies were grouped together under the newly created holding "Vollers Group GmbH".
Christian Vollers became the Managing Director in 2006 and since 2013 he is the sole owner of the Vollers Group. Since then, he successively established the management team and took on board three team partners since then.
A particular highlight for Vollers was the construction and inauguration of Oosterweel 1000, a state-of-the-art warehouse for bulk cocoa in Antwerp in 2014. The advantage: the storage, weighing and sampling are performed in a fully-automated manner.
In the same year, the location of Genoa in Italy was opened.
Company takeover in the UK
In 2017, the operations of Eniti Ltd in Bury St Edmunds in the United Kingdom were taken over.
Vollers UK Ltd has been in existence in London since 1981. At that time, its role was limited to maintaining a representative office and a registered name. In order to conduct stock exchange business in London, it is necessary to have an agent locally.
The future becomes digital
Vollers' business activities are always designed to remain fit for the future. With the development of the new internal ERP system, the foundation of V-Connect was laid. Launched in December 2018, it started with simple stock overviews, and has then become the most important order management tool for many of our customers.
52 years of professional life
In 2020 senior Lüder Vollers (Group Director) said goodbye for his more than well-deserved retirement after 52 years in the company. Lüder is the quintessence of Vollers and has created great achievements with his outstanding character. Responsibility, trust, optimism, endurance, loyalty and reliability are the core values of Lüder and these values still define our company today and will tomorrow.
In the same year, shares in the coffee storage company Il Polo del Caffè were acquired. The cooperation provides the 3rd location in Italy within the Vollers Group.
Hoogtij starts its operations
Hoogtij is the fully automated cocoa warehouse opened in 2021, where the cocoa beans arrive in containers or vessels. The beans arrive in the storage compartments via conveyor belts. Later, the cocoa beans are retrieved with the help of electric cranes and conveyor belts and then loaded onto trucks or barges.
On the digital road to the future, the online green coffee market "Cropster Hub" was bought from the company Cropster and was renamed into V-Hub. Since November 2021, Vollers operates this global platform for the coffee industry. The focus is on further development through an improved buying-selling experience and the connection of logistics.
Tea in Dongen
Vollers took over a tea warehouse including facilities from the company Van Rees B.V. in Dongen near Rotterdam. From import, customs, warehousing, sieving, repacking, blending, flavouring, transport to export: the new location will offer the full range of tea logistics services, just like the other Vollers tea locations in Bremen and Bury St. Edmunds.
Another milestone was set in the IT department of the Vollers Group: V-Interface, the first running interface between our ERP system and the ERP systems of our customers to automate data transfer in the relevant business processes. Since then, more customers have followed month after month, using V-Interface as their interface solution.