Growing with tiles
Turku Free Zone Company is rapidly growing to become a comprehensive logistics service provider. The new contract with ceramic tile manufacturer Pukkila is a big step for the company.
Founded in 1874, Pukkila made a decision two years ago to transfer its production from Turku to Portugal. When the old premises in Pitkämäki district in Turku had become unsuitable and the sales office had already moved to new premises, reorganisation of logistics and warehousing became topical.
“When the production was transferred, we turned from a production company to a sales company and wanted to focus strictly on our core expertise, so we decided on outsourcing the services”, says Johan Westerlund, Managing Director of Pukkila
Turku won by speed
According to Henrik Lundström, Administration Manager of Pukkila, concentrating logistics and warehousing to Turku and the Port of Turku was by no means a done deal.
“We also examined and calculated the option to relocate in Helsinki thoroughly, because the Helsinki metropolitan area is our biggest market in Finland.”
According to Mr Lundström, the decision on choosing Turku was affected by Turku Free Zone Company, which turned out to be a partner with a similar mindset and willing to invest, as well as the natural advantages of Turku and its port.
“The turnaround times and flexibility of the Port of Turku are definitely a major advantage. Furthermore, good connections to Tampere and Oulu were important to us. When you think about the traffic volumes and driving times on Ring III in Helsinki compared to the exit roads in Turku, there’s significant difference.”
“We also believe that in the future we can import all our products via Turku, when new container lines are opened, and further savings in transport costs can be achieved.”
Two new warehouse halls
Stefan Lindström, Managing Director of Turku Free Zone Company, says that as a result of the agreement, Pukkila will become their most significant single customer. The agreement means a considerable increase in the company’s turnover. The investment is a big one: there is 7,000 square metres of new warehouse space under construction and five new employees have been hired.
The first unheated warehouse hall with a floor area of 3,500 square metres was introduced already in January. Another, similar-sized hall with environmentally sound geothermal heating is due for completion next to it in late summer.
In addition to a warehouse, Turku Free Zone Company will build for Pukkila laboratory facilities for quality monitoring and a display space for product samples.
In the future, Turku Free Zone Company will handle the logistics and warehousing of Pukkila’s products from beginning to end, from ships to shops – including reception, unloading, shelving, storage, packaging, deliveries and returns. In total, Turku Free Zone Company will handle some 600–700 containers of Pukkila’s products per year from now on.
The shelf storage and collection of general cargo with tailored additional services is a new kind of work for Turku Free Zone Company.
“We have provided tailored services for customers before, but then we had a partner while we now produce all services by ourselves”, says Stefan Lindström, Managing Director of Turku Free Zone Company.
Diversity as a goal
Mr Lindström is confident regarding the future. At least from the point of view of Turku Free Zone Company the hardest years in terms of economy are behind.
“Of course companies come and go. When one leaves, another one takes its place. That’s how it always goes. The Turku economic region is, however, booming very strongly.”
According to Mr Lindström, they have been thinking in Turku Free Zone Company about the new kind of service resulting from the Pukkila agreement for a long time. He says that decreasing the dependence on trade cycles through diverse activities is important. According to Mr Lindström, the new investments are a new beginning.
“In the future we will be better able to develop similar services, outsourcing of overall warehousing services for those who need it.
Text Kalle Kirstilä
Photos Robert Seger
Turku Free Zone Company
Founded in 1964
Turnover € 1.66 mill.
No. of employees 13
Storage area ca 25 ha
Covered warehouse space 40,000 m²
Founded in 1874
Turnover € 14.5 mill.
No. of employees 44
Shops in Finland 5
Part of the Italian Ricchetti Group