Nico Zonne: a man who breathes transport

Nico Zonne – founder and owner of Euro Forwarding – is what you call a natural. Starting his first courier service in high school at the age of 13. Delivering in-a-box goods on his bicycle. And hired by his first shipping-employer the moment high school was behind him. Being the start of an impressive career covering most places in the world. Working with all transport modes imaginable. And making ‘international’ his home. Learning how to speak German, French and English, but also Spanish, Italian, Ivrid (modern Hebrew), Mandarin and Puntoga (Cantonese). Observing cultures, developing personal relationships en becoming one of the most experienced international shippers in the world of transport. 

Noticed by a great number of logistical think tanks and legislative bodies in which Nico is still active to this day. Such as the NDIV (Nederland Digitaal in Verbinding, about connecting stakeholders), the Centraal College of Experts of the SMHV (foundation concerning wooden packaging), the FeNex (think tank concerning logistics), the Stuurgroep Zeehavenlogistiek (International discussion platform concerning port developments) and other discussion platforms such as Deltalinqs, AZV (alliance of sea container shippers) and the VRC (organization of Rotterdam cargadoors)

A man who breathes international shipping. But also a man who recognizes that transport is all about people. Coupling a state-of-the-art business operation with old school elements as trustworthiness, flexibility and the value of a personal handshake. Nico has poured all he acquired in Euro Forwarding. Not the biggest in the business, but certainly among the best.

The larger the companies, the more important relationships are

It's a stubborn bias: numbers, spreadsheets, ratios and processes rule large companies. And undeniably true that larger organizations have invested a lot of time and energy in optimizing their operation. Turning "forcasting" into a "work of art". And keeping a close eye on the results of their efforts. But there is also another side, which often plays a greater role in international logistics than many people think: the human relationship.


A few years ago, an investigation was carried out for one of the European ports - internally, so never published - into the most optimal positioning relative to the competition. In which a lot of things surfaced: optimal service, availability of hinterland connections, accessibility and so on. But one conclusion stood out enormously: the larger the active parties in the port, the more determining the importance of personal relationships. On the basis of that conclusion - and with success - full efforts were made to develop and maintain personal relationships with (the boards of) parties with whom business was conducted in relation to the port.


Companies need logistical partners they can rely on. Partners who are there when needed. Come up with solutions instead of problems. Work according to strict standards, but at the same time being flexible. With extensive professional knowledge and experience. And a worldwide network that can handle any load and any means of transport. But also partners who realize that logistics at the end of the day is ‘people's business’. In which personal contact is decisive, and a handshake seals a deal. In short: the new world linked to the old.

People remain people

People are and remain people. They like to be appreciated and keep in touch. That is true in private life, but no different in business. In every culture in the world. Long-term relationships based on insight, understanding and openness lead to more effective cooperation and better chances of connecting (commercial) interests. And that starts with small things. By being available, by thanking personally for the relationship and the things that have been done together, by sending a card at Christmas, or giving a phone call on a birthday. It all makes a bigger difference in the business world than many think.

Mutual Gains

Even science has started to deal with this. The University of Massachusetts invented the Mutual Gains Approach several years ago. Aimed at reaching consensus and / or linking (commercial) interests in complex situations between parties. It is an established fact that this philosophy literally contributed significantly to the creation of the Tweede Maasvlakte in Rotterdam. A project involving many parties with completely different interests. And yet they managed to align them: by first looking at the common interests and only then cracking the remaining nuts.

Relationship management

So, there is even a Mutual Gains Relationship Management now: intended to first look for common interests in relationship management and only then jointly identify the differences. Developed in the Netherlands, as part of government crisis management. Because developing excellent relationships before a crisis has an enormous effect on the management of a crisis when it occurs.

So relationships are more important than many people think. And Euro Forwarding puts that insight into practice every day.