Uni-Troll: Alternative to CC trolleys on the market?

Danish company Uni-Troll is trying to put a new trolley concept on the market. Therefore it speaks with some of the most innovative retailers, says director Søren Bøgede Andersen, who used to be board member at Container Centralen.

Uni-Troll is not the first attempt to bring an alternative to CC trolleys on the market. In 2011, that also tried a former Dutch CC manager with a Belgian manufacturer, which did not work out. Also behind the Uni-Troll is someone who used to be closely involved with CC: Søren Bøgede Andersen, initiator of the cooperative with which CC started the trolley system in 1980. He was a board member up to 1991 and from 2000 to 2010. In 2011 was the CC labelling change Operation Chip It: all 3,5 million CC frames got a security chip. Now, metal CC shelves are waiting for introduction, next to the existing wooden shelves.

Why develop a new trolley, when you look at CC improvements?

„Two years after I left the CC board, I discussed the development of a new shelf that you can’t copy, with Erling Mogensen (inventor of product carriers, ed.) and Steen Juul Thomsen (grower). We saw the years of CC’s efforts to develop such a shelf. We then offered CC our concept and the patent in 2014, but they didn’t want that. Then we decided to introduce our concept as a new brand, Uni-Troll.”

Your shelves are made of plywood, why wood? As wooden shelves provide the largest repair costs to CC trolleys.

„The plywood for our shelves is of high quality, it can carry 60-80 kg. But we also have plastic shelves made of polypropylene and 60% glass fiber for strength. Such a shelf is intended for food products up to 40 kg.

The reason that the repair costs on CC shelves are so high, is that users bring the cheapest possible multiplex shelves of insufficient quality into the CC pool. In my opinion, this trend will continue as a result of the new CC repair quota.”

Uni-Troll does not have the same dimensions as a CC trolley. Can you load your trolley with all standard packaging materials in European ornamental industry?

„The assortment of packaging materials is too big; we share the worries about that in the industry. As a consequence of this the handling costs are bursting. We believe in the euro standards, that is why our shelves measure 600 x 800 mm, or a sub-module: 300 x 400 mm. We listen to retail chains, and they ask for the euro standards. Which sizes are best, depends on the Normpack institute where it wants to go. We recommend trays of 300 x 400 mm. We also look at trends in recyclable boxes.”

Has Uni-Troll been tested by an independent institute?

„Not quite yet. A laboratory test is on the planning of the Teknologisk Institute in Denmark. It is carried out according to a standard for roll containers, because there is no standard for trolleys with shelves. We do not expect any changes in the construction, because before the laboratory test the concept has been tested already in the field.

The Uni-Troll has been developed for processing with machines and robots. We think that everything on our trolley has a lifespan of at least 15 years.”

How much will your trolley cost?

„We have not yet determined the costs for users, but we believe that the rental costs are at an acceptable level, and that the costs are not the most crucial theme for users. They will focus on cost savings by using a concept that lasts longer. Transferring trolleys and reloading means a lot of unnecessary costs. More and more plants go directly from growers and retailers. If the industry is not alert to future developments and organizations do not take the lead, larger retailers will all use different trolley systems. Then the costs will explode.”

The industry is recovering from a crisis, product margins are still low and companies have already invested in a trolley standard. Do they want to invest in Uni-Troll?

„Yes, we are confident that users will invest in a new trolley system, because the entire supply chain can get benefit from it. With some of the most innovative retailers in Europe, we are now discussing how we can introduce a new pool.

No major cooperative in Europe that represents the interests of nurserymen, takes the lead in introducing a future trolley system that benefits the entire chain. The trolleys of Royal FloraHolland and Landgard will never come in retail. CC has not yet launched the innovation for the future market. The retailers all claim to work on sustainability, but is there real action behind it? That is doubtful.”

Pictures: Uni-Troll

Since 2000 Arno Engels has been editor of De Boomkwekerij, Dutch magazine for hardy nursery stock. Since 2018 he is also Floribusiness editor. He was brought up connecting with horticulture, studied horticulture and worked at several nurseries in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
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