Jef van Opdorp set up a transport business in 1927, carrying agricultural products by horse and cart. He later expanded into cobblestones. He bought the company’s first car in 1933, marking a decisive step towards a fully fledged transport company.
In the fifties, after the Second World War, Jef’s sons Bernhard and George rebuilt the firm. The flood crisis in the Netherlands and Belgium in 1953, followed by the harsh winter of 1954, provided considerable work for the fledgling business. Shipbuilding was practically at a standstill and there was high demand for road haulage. The directors at that time drove consignments of sugar themselves.
Insight and experience allowed the company to progress from sugar freight to its first bulk transport in 1962.
In 1963, Werner van Opdorp, the third generation, joined the company at the age of 16 to work across the board and help the company expand.
Work increased steadily, in tandem with technical know-how and its application within the company.
In 1973, Van Opdorp became the first company in the Benelux to offer bacteria-free loading and unloading of liquid feedstuffs.
On 19 December 1973, the Belgian company PVBA Opdorp Zelzate was set up, which later became BVBA Opdorp.
In the Netherlands, the company moved from the Zandstraat into brand-new premises at business park Noord in Sas van Gent, on 29 May 1987. Van Opdorp now had a modern office block, workshop and cleaning station with internal and external cleaning facilities, as well as a unit for sterilising tank trailers.
In 1989, the first reach stacker lift truck was purchased for loading and unloading containers. Work with the reach stacker expanded to such an extent that a new site of nearly three hectares was purchased along the western boundary of the existing site.
This took the company into the mid-90s, and time for Werner to take over the helm and steer the company towards the future.
In 1996, the tank trailer holding area was covered over, to create a warehouse where foodstuff lorries could be cleaned, followed in 2003 by the construction of a water treatment area, office and canteen.
At the start of 2005, Werner’s daughter Manon van Opdorp, the fourth generation, entered the transport world, taking over full responsibility in 2008.
Developments within the company are continuing, equipment is kept up-to-date or replaced, and new opportunities are continually being examined.
In 2012, a start was made on the renovation of the water treatment unit. The best solutions will be incorporated to dispose of cleaning waste water in an environmentally responsible manner. Plans for this were submitted in 2013 and the project will be competed in 2014.