Profitability is More Than Earnings

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The large transport group Thortrans A/S in Randers works tirelessly every day to ensure the best possible profitability. It requires attention to detail. “Quality, maintenance, flexibility, and sustainability are probably the most important keywords that describe our strategy in daily operations,” says co-owner Lars Kristensen.

Reliability and availability of spare parts

In recent years, one of Thortrans focus areas has been on standardising procurement. The aim is to both achieve suitable volumes in the procurement of vehicles, bodies, tyres, etc. and to ensure maximum flexibility in the composition of trucks and trailers, bodies, etc. This makes it possible to optimise vehicle utilisation and route planning, and it also contributes to more efficient repair and maintenance as well as stocking spare parts in our own workshop.

“More than half of our transports take place in Denmark,” says Kristensen. “We are largely self-sufficient when it comes to maintenance and repair of our bodies, trailers, and tyres, for example. This isn’t as easy with our transports abroad, of which about 40% of the trips go north. If we experience breakdowns, punctures, or damage, we are dependent on external suppliers, and it can be extremely expensive to have emergency servicing performed in the rest of the Nordic region.

Therefore, it is crucial for operational reliability that the equipment is well maintained. At the same time, the most exposed components must be available in foreign workshops.

Standardised fleet

- “We have front carriages, trailers, centre-axle trailers, tractors, semi-trailers, and link trailers, and we have standardised the fleet with the VBG coupling system and underrun protection as well as OnSpot snow chains on northbound vehicles, etc. We have done this because the products are of high quality, which in itself contributes to profitability, and because many workshops in the areas where we operate stock VBG components,” explains Kristensen and adds:

“Unforeseen downtime is poison to profitability, so it’s important to remedy any technical challenges and repair damage before they occur or as soon as possible afterwards.”

Lars Kristensen Thortrans_vbg_blog

Tyres are another area in which Thortrans pays attention to detail.

“We have gradually standardised the fleet with tandem mounting on our trailers, centre-axle trailers, and semi-trailers,” says Kristensen. “We have many front carriages/tractor units operating with 7.82-metre swap bodies as well as semi-trailer tractors with a 1.04-metre fifth wheel height, so we can fit the same types of low-profile tyres across the fleet. Owing to our many transports north, we also use on winter tyres a lot, so by standardising with as few tyre sizes and types as possible, we can ensure an overview and keep costs down. At the same time, we achieve optimal road safety, which is, of course, very important.

“We have hired an employee whose only job is to monitor our tyres and check tyre pressure via an online tyre pressure monitoring system installed in the vehicles. It sounds like an expensive solution instead of just asking the drivers to do it, but it has actually created significant savings on tyres and reduced the frequency of downtime due to punctures to almost zero.”


At Thortrans, focus on sustainability is not just a trendy marketing concept that looks good in a financial statement. In fact, Thortrans has had sustainability on the agenda for almost 20 years.

“We prepared our first ESG report (Environment, Social, Governance) in 2023, but we developed our first CO2 emissions calculator as early 2006,” asserts Kristensen. “Back then, not many people noticed it, but over time it has become increasingly important to focus on more than just the financial statements. More and more of our customers – especially foreign customers – demand to know the suppliers’ results in terms of CO2e emissions and the environment, and now also social responsibility and management responsibility.

“It helps to raise awareness of these areas, and it also provides internal visibility on what it means to save fuel, optimise route planning, and all the other factors that affect the footprint of our operations.”

Given the above, it is not surprising to learn that the entire Thortrans Group pays all their drivers according to Danish collective agreements, regardless of their nationality. And this is also good for profitability in the long run.

Thortrans in Brief

Thortrans was founded in 1972 and has around 200 employees, of which 125 are drivers. The company has 125 tractor units with approx. 300 trailers, centre-axle trailers, and semi-trailers in its fleet. The company mainly transports furniture, kitchens, general cargo, and cardboard and plastic packaging. Thortrans also offers removal services for private individuals and companies, warehousing services, repair and sale of pallets, trade in wood chips and firewood, etc.

Do you have questions about VBG’s offering or want to tell us about your business and what do you to boost your profitability?


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