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Together with her husband Filip Broucke, Ann Degroote manages the transport company Luxetrans. “I’m responsible for the administration, accounting and invoicing, but I also regularly get behind the wheel of a truck to take care of an urgent delivery. The number of female drivers in this industry is steadily growing. I love driving because it brings some variety to my job.”
“In May 2000, we took over the transport company from my parents. At the time, Luxetrans nv was not just a haulier but also cut foam for the seat and mattress industry and the automotive industry. We expanded our business with 2 new semi-trailer trucks. This way, we could perform the transport of the foam ourselves.”
From Ghent to Paris
“In 2005, we purchased 2 additional tractor units for the transport of the trailers of one of our regular customers. We started to cross the country with dump trucks, flatbed trucks and concrete mixer trucks.”
“My husband and I both got bitten by the transport bug. In 2007, we took over a semi-trailer truck from Intravik, the international transport company owned by my in-laws and based in Wervik.
Luxetrans ensures the transport of all sorts of goods from Belgium to France and vice versa on a daily basis. From Ghent to Paris. “For the Sidmar steelworks, we transport steel coils to France and, if possible, we return with grain or other goods. We run a rather small-scale business with 5 employed drivers and we also drive our trucks ourselves. Luxetrans is renowned for the variety of transport types we are able to provide. We do a lot of haulage for the construction sector. In 2010, we bought our second dump truck to transport crushed stone to France.”
"What I particularly like about our collaboration with Titeca Accountancy is that we always cooperate with the same contact. I am a great fan of personal one-to-one contact. It is very important to work with people you trust at your accountancy agency."
“The critical shortage of truck drivers makes it hard to find the right people for the right job. It is quite a challenge to start working as a driver, since obtaining a category C+E driving licence is rather expensive.”
“We always try to provide the best possible service to our 20 to 25 regular customers. We provide the best possible service every day and are able to switch smoothly for urgent requests. We mainly work for customers from our own region. Our local presence, excellent service and the quality of our transport make the difference.”
Ann has a jovial personality and a talent for building customer loyalty, planning and optimising processes to the customer’s advantage. “If it is cheaper to combine two transports into one, I will communicate this straightforwardly and openly. I am the company’s single point of contact and maintain a strong relationship of trust with all our customers. That is what we work for. Every single day.”
The couple’s eldest son is a student on the Vives automotive technology bachelor programme in Kortrijk and is eager to join the business. The youngest son, who is 14 years old, also shows a lot of interest.
“We want to continue our empathic entrepreneurship on a small scale, providing personal service to our customers, just like Titeca Accountancy. We want to make sure that we can continue to satisfy our customers in the future.”
It’s in my blood
“I grew up in my parents’ business. They employed over 100 people. I began to develop an interest in the transport sector when I met my husband. His parents were also entrepreneurs, which instantly created common ground.
I started out as an employee, but soon I was itching to start up my own business. It’s in my blood. That’s what has led us to where we are now. In 2007, we initiated the construction of our current premises in Wervik.”
Titeca, a trusted one-stop shop
“What I particularly like about our collaboration with Titeca Accountancy is that we always cooperate with the same contact: Sharon. I am a great fan of personal one-to-one contact. It is very important to work with people you trust at your accountancy agency. I have known Titeca Accountancy since I was a child. Emmanuel Titeca helped us with the acquisition of Luxetrans nv.
Sharon and I both live in Geluwe, and whenever I need to provide her with documents, I just hand them over at her house. Titeca Accountancy’s local presence is very important to us. We have worked with Titeca since 2000, and my parents worked with them for a long time too. At the time of the takeover, it was a huge advantage that they knew my parents’ company inside out. We can rely on Titeca Accountancy for any business advice we need.”
The secret to entrepreneurship
“I am always involved in the business, day and night, and I sometimes don't get much sleep as a result,” Ann says. “We are already thinking about the future and the expansion of our company by servicing trucks. Luxetrans is and will continue to be a real family business. My father and father-in-law still visit the shop floor every day. I really enjoy our working together as a family.”