Quality along the entire transport chain

As a service provider with its own cold stores and a modern fleet of trucks, Emder Kühl Logistik EKL is indispensable to the food industry in the northwest of Lower Saxony. Quality and trust are the greatest values in this family business, which been using Cool Liners exclusively from Krone since its foundation.

ometimes you just need a little courage – and a healthy dose of self-confidence. Rudolf Wiltfang showed both in 1999, when the frozen food manufacturer Costa was looking for an in-house freight forwarder for its new production facility in Emden. “So I just jumped in at the deep end, applied and got the job,” laughs the 63-year-old, who made the decision together with his wife Hielte. Until then, the two had been running a truck and van rental business. Their courage and self-confidence quickly paid off. From the forwarding agency, the Emder Kühlhaus-Logistik (EKL), an institution for the food and fish industry known beyond the region, was created; the entrepreneur couple has just opened the third refrigerated warehouse for their customers. The generational change has also been initiated. The three children have also been working for a long time in the company, which has a total of 20 employees. “The cooperation is characterised by great trust”, Rudolf Wiltfang emphasises, and includes the Krone Group in addition to the family, the employees and the customer Costa: “My first refrigerated trailer was a Cool Liner. Since then, I have never driven anything else.”
Through quality and reliability, the deep-freeze shipping company has made a name for itself in the food industry and is a valued partner of the fishing industry in East Frisia.
Through quality and reliability, the deep-freeze shipping company has made a name for itself in the food industry and is a valued partner of the fishing industry in East Frisia.


Temperature-controlled logistics in the frozen and fresh goods sector is one of the supreme disciplines in transport and goods management. Rudolf Wiltfang masters it and has developed over the years from a carrier to a comprehensive service provider. His largest customer is also his immediate neighbour. When the entrepreneur built his first refrigerated warehouse for Costa, he was lucky and was able to purchase a commercial area with growth potential directly adjacent to the production facility. This ensures short distances and close connections. The Emden-based family business has long since taken over the entire logistics, including warehousing and handling. Raw materials remain in the company’s own refrigerated warehouses until they are delivered just-in-time to the production lines; finished products are temporarily stored here, picked and then transported directly to the customer or to the central dispatch warehouse in Rheine. This means: “We are very closely integrated into the production process”, says Nils Wiltfang. The 33-year-old son of the founder is now a member of the EKL management team and is very familiar with food and Costa. He worked there after training in food technology, so he knows very well what the customer expects. Of course, Costa produces according to precise plans, so that EKL can control the supply of raw materials and the storage of finished products in the long term. But in line with the needs of the retail trade, short-term changes to plans are part of everyday life in the food industry: “We are perfectly positioned for this and have a well-rehearsed team”, says the junior boss.
Quality along the entire transport chain Image 1

“My first refrigerated trailer was a Cool Liner. Since then, that’s all I drive.”

Rudolf Wiltfang,
founder of the Emder Kühlhaus-Logistik (EKL)


For logisticians and transporters in the food industry, the great challenge lies in both the necessary speed and the extremely high demands on quality and safety. Rudolf Wiltfang set the course early on for EKL to be able to offer customers complete logistics solutions. This naturally includes the corresponding quality controls and documentation of each individual step along the entire transport chain.  Above all, however, the processes, organisation and equipment must meet the required guarantee performance. Step by step EKL has grown with its main customer. The three warehouses are divided into different chambers for the entire temperature range from –24°C to +15°C; the racking and cooling systems are electronically monitored and equipped with alarm systems that keep an eye on temperature and humidity. The EKL storehouses have a total storage capacity for 8,000 pallets. However, Rudolf Wiltfang has not only invested in the latest technology for its storage systems – also in the interest of the environment and climate protection, it relies on state-of-the-art technologies. This applies both to the insulation of the refrigerated warehouses and to energy generation. “We generate our own electricity”, says the senior boss with justified pride. He has had a high-performance photovoltaic system installed on the roofs of the cold storage facilities.
A family business par excellence: all three children have long since been working in the company.
A family business par excellence: all three children have long since been working in the company.


The Wiltfangs also rely on the latest technology for their truck fleet. The forwarding agency, from which EKL emerged and which is managed by son Ole Wiltfang, continues to be part of the group of companies and has seven tractor units and ten refrigerated trailers – Cool Liners from Krone. However, the company does not maintain the connection to the trailer specialist from the Emsland region out of pure nostalgia, because the first refrigerated trailer was one from Krone. “The trailers are simply very reliable and economical,” emphasizes Rudolf Wiltfang. And these are important factors at a time when the transport sector is facing cost pressures such as the rising fuel prices and the ubiquitous toll obligation. Rudolf Wiltfang replaces its trailers with new ones every four years; this also applies to the tractors. The pragmatic entrepreneur has obviously found partners with a similar mentality in the team that takes care of his company at Krone. “Everything is wonderfully uncomplicated and simple”, he reports. For the EKL managing director, both technical and optical qualities count. “Our trailers are clearly marked with the Costa brand”, explains Rudolf Wiltfang, “so our vehicles must also look correspondingly tidy”. The fact that the carriages always roll neatly onto the customer’s yard does not require any special mention. 
Quality along the entire transport chain Image 2

“Fresh product and direct shipment is the trend, we have adapted to it in time.”

Nils Wiltfang,
junior manager of the Emder Kühlhaus-Logistik (EKL)


Wiltfang relies on the good support from Krone and its regional partner of the tractor manufacturer, but not only because of its major customer Costa. EKL is an important service provider for the fishing industry in Emden and on the Frisian coast. Fresh fish, crabs, smoked fish, canned fish and marinades – no matter what the companies in the picturesque Siel ports directly on the coast and of course in Emden produce – EKL stores it and ensures that the goods reach the customer quickly and safely. Also in the service for small and medium-sized customers, the company’s entire range of services becomes visible in addition to warehousing and transport. Similar to major customers, the EKL team also carries out quality controls and guarantees the safe handling of sensitive goods. Orders are picked and in addition to full pallets, the company also dispatches customer-specific containers. For this purpose, EKL maintains its own working area with a dispatch zone and its own packaging line within the cold stores. “Fresh and direct shipping is the trend and we have adapted to it in time”, says Nils Wiltfang.


The success of the past 20 years has not only strengthened the Wiltfangs’ courage and self-confidence – they have also developed new ideas, the implementation of which is relied upon by the expertise they have gained over the years. With the Emder Matjesversand the family business also created a distribution channel for this fish speciality from Emden. “We already have several large food store chains as customers” says Rudolf Wiltfang happily. As for the other customers, the fish products are picked and prepared for dispatch in-house. In addition to the key account business, mailings to private customers via www.emder-matjesversand.de are now also growing. This is the only business area where Wiltfang does not use Krone Cool Liners. “We ship private orders via courier services in refrigerated packaging,” explains junior boss Nils.
Once a Krone, always a Krone: the Wiltfangs trust in the quality and technology of the Cool Liner.
Once a Krone, always a Krone: the Wiltfangs trust in the quality and technology of the Cool Liner.
Photos: Focke Hagen

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