31 August 2022, 14:57
The European Green Deal is the hot topic of the moment in the machinery world, and rental industry makes no exception. ERA Convention 2022 in Riga that took place in June was the perfect opportunity for us to ask Peter Schrader, Managing Director and COO of Zeppelin Rental to share his thoughts on the new EU regulations and on the challenges that he is already dealing with regarding the implementation.
Florentina Chiriță: Congratulations on winning the ERA Award for The Large Rental Company of the Year! What is the secret behind Zeppelin Rental’s success?
Peter Schrader: Thank you very much! The secret: our employees. Our activity is sustained both by the management team and our employees from the entire organization. We have great and enormously patient employees. They are working in a close partnership with our customers and have been very supportive especially during the past 2 years, since the COVID pandemic started. I highly respect our colleagues, they have worked incredibly hard in these challenging times. We are very proud of them.
Florentina Chiriță: What is your opinion about the Green Deal, the main topic presented at ERA 2022? How prepared do you think the European rental industry is to implement the EU Green Deal regulations by 2030?
Peter Schrader: We all have the Green Deal on our minds and the sustainability idea on our agenda. Almost everyone in the industry knows that it is very important to change our behavior and to act in order to save the world. The preservation of our planet is crucial. Nevertheless, the question remains how the rental industry will start this green process. One challenge we face are the higher acquisition costs of the sustainable equipment we will offer to our customers.
From suppliers to rental companies, everybody has some ideas about the Green Deal and possible actions and approaches until 2030 and 2050, respectively. But the truth also is that nobody can manage the “green challenge” alone and on his own. To overcome these difficulties, we at Zeppelin Rental decided to work very closely with our suppliers, our customers, and universities. We strongly believe that only together and in collaboration we are able to find the best sustainable solutions. At the end of the day, if we can change our environment in a positive way, then it’s worth putting all our efforts into it. At the same time, we also need to be very careful not to give an impression of “green washing”.
Florentina Chiriță: What do you think the biggest challenge would be in this long process for the European contractors?
Peter Schrader: It's a mixture between finances - as in higher rates for both the rental companies and their customers due to the higher costs of sustainable equipment – and the infrastructure on construction sites such as charging possibilities. In 2 or 3 years from now, new and fully functioning technical solutions might have been developed. But until then, it is our duty to permanently research for new ways to handle these challenges.
Florentina Chiriță: The implementation of the EU Green Deal might encourage contractors to buy less equipment and rent more, and this will be a great benefit for the rental industry. What is your opinion on this theory?
Peter Schrader: The rental industry is already sustainable. So, the more the utilization rate is increased, the less equipment you need. I am absolutely convinced that this will happen in the future. Moreover, it makes sense to automize the industry more and more.
Florentina Chiriță: What is the impact that the current political situation in Ukraine had on your company’s activity?
Peter Schrader: Everyone in the industry feels an impact one way or the other, but not only by the war. Rental companies are also facing inflation, disturbances of the supply chains, and post pandemic effects. This means that they are dealing with financial, microeconomic, and geopolitical issues.
Despite all these factors, Zeppelin Rental is very pleased with the current situation - our customers’ order books are full and there is a high demand for rental equipment and construction support services. However, nobody knows what will happen in the coming 2 or 3 months. Our customers have difficulties obtaining construction materials like bitumen and steel, and small additional equipment – this is not a big issue right now, but it could become one in the future. Nevertheless, I am and remain very confident and optimistic regarding the market situation and I have been all these years.
Florentina Chiriță: Are you facing problems with lack of components/equipment (shortage of supplies in general)?
Peter Schrader: Even though we do experience delays in the supply processes, we are able to handle the situation very well. We have a huge range of different assets such as construction machines and equipment, access equipment, and allied equipment in our rental program. If supply chains were even more disturbed, we could still cover our activities and meanwhile look for solutions. I guess, that applies to many other rental companies. Nevertheless, the fact that we have to place orders now for the end of 2023 and 2024 might seem very strange, but I am positive that everything will work out in the end.
Florentina Chiriță: What are Zeppelin Rental’s plans for the for next year?
Peter Schrader: We give the highest priority to sustainability. It is a project that needs constant work - we have a dedicated team that is working very hard on finding green solutions, together with our customers and our suppliers. Another topic we focus on is to permanently find the best digital solutions for our customers. I am very keen on a step-by-step organic growth because I am absolutely convinced that healthy growth will take us very far in this market.
Source: LECTURA Verlag GmbH