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Gino VleminckxThis week’s blog post is about one of the most important aspects of OPENLANE. Transport & Logistics is a service that ensures you receive your car quickly, easily and without any hassles. But don’t take my word for it. Instead, read the answers we were given when we asked Jan Van Orshoven, who leads the Transport and Administration operations at OPENLANE, a few quick questions about our Transport & Logistics service.

1. What would you say our transport service is all about?

It’s about making life easier for you as a buyer. Transport & Logistics has always been a crucial element in our value proposition. But things didn’t use to work the way they do today. Once upon a time, we published indicative lead times to give you an idea of how long it would take before you would receive your car. As soon as you bought a car with transport, our transport department started planning the best way to transport it to you. It was a pretty good service, but we wanted to make it even more efficient. And so, when we relaunched our services a few years ago, we worked with our partner, Hödlemayer, to create an online tool that connects the different transporters we work with to the OPENLANE system. As a buyer, you use this tool when you look at the transport possibilities and prices in real time while you’re bidding. This mean you know exactly what delivery times* and costs you’re looking at. It’s quick and easy to arrange transport and there’s no hassle. It’s exactly the service we want to offer you.

* On average we score a 91% performance delivering the vehicles faster or in line with mentioned delivery times!

2. Is this online tool available for transport to every destination? 

It definitely covers most routes in Europe. Of course, we also want to offer the best lead times possible, so we are continuously expanding our HUB network (*), so the online transport tool will soon be available for more HUB destinations. But that’s just the start. You see, we don’t just offer transport to the HUBs; for most countries, we also offer local delivery to your very doorstep.

There are routes that our online transport tool doesn’t cover; transport outside Europe for example. We needed a different option here, so we looked around, did our research and eventually decided that in these cases, the best solution was transport on demand. We still want to make it as easy as possible though, so all you need to do is send an email to the transport team. Before you know it, they’ll send you a price and an indication of the lead time.

If it sounds good to you, you just need to make the payment and we will start arranging the transport. The transport-on-demand option is also a great solution for transporting special cars or damaged cars.

(*) A HUB is a centrally located delivery and pick-up location

3. Do we have the best lead times and prices on the market?

We are constantly negotiating with our transport partners. And as such, especially on the more popular routes, our lead times and prices are better. We have standard prices. This means you have complete transparency. But we don’t just focus on the prices. We really drive our transport suppliers to offer better services. They understand that it’s in their interests, our interests and our customers’ interests to offer the best transport possible, so they really do work hard to ensure you have top-notch reliable service. We play our part too. It takes just one click to pull up all the transport possibilities and their prices. When your car is assigned, you only need one more click to order the transport, start the wheels turning and have your car on its way to you!

4. Customers sometimes tell us they can transport a car cheaper. What is your view on that?

It’s possible. You’ll probably have to shop around and will need a bit of luck too, but if you don’t mind the time and hassle, you might find a cheaper and faster solution with a transporter that just happens to have an empty space on a truck at the right moment and on the right route. If you do decide to search for your own transport, please make sure you make agreements about unexpected costs, delays and other surprises. If you don’t, you could end up with a huge headache. A major focus for us is on making agreements with our transport providers about insurances, procedures, their working methods and so forth. We require our transport suppliers to offer guaranteed prices and comply with agreements about service levels. It’s the best way of offering you quick, easy, hassle-free reliable services.

5. A hot topic: when does the lead time start?

This is a difficult one. As a buyer, you probably start the clock the moment the car’s assigned to you. After all, it’s going to be difficult for you to sell a car before you have it. We know this and keep it in mind when we approach transport. However, there are two conditions we need to fulfill before the lead-time clock starts ticking for us:

1. The car needs to be released by the seller and at the pick-up location.
2. You need to have paid for the car and transport costs.

It’s up to the seller to release the car. But like I said, we know you want your car, so we usually pay the seller on your behalf, within a day or two, even if we haven’t received payment from you yet. We also have pretty strong commercial relationships with sellers and stress how important it is for them to have all the paperwork done quickly so they’re able to release the car as soon as they receive the payment.

6. What is Optimo priority transport?

Optimo prioritises a car for transport. It’s a great way to save time and have your car delivered earlier. Of course, the car still needs to be released by the seller and you still need to pay your transport costs before we can put it on a transport truck. Once it’s been released and you’ve paid the transport costs, you’re at the head of the transport queue.

7. Are there any future improvements for us to expect from the transport service?

There are a few major changes that we are currently rolling out. There are two in particular that you’ll be able to benefit from in the short term:

• We have been running a continuous improvement programme since the beginning of the year. We keep our transport partners updated on the service levels they’re achieving and the service levels they’re required to provide. It really encourages them to commit themselves to delivering better services.

• Another improvement we are excited about is Track and Trace. We have made quite a lot of progress, but it’s a difficult challenge: all our transport partners have different ways of working. For example, our Romanian partner uses a code that our Romanian buyers find in My account. They type it in and receive up-to-date info on the transport of their cars. And while this example shows the system is pretty impressive and helpful, but there’s still a bit of work to be done before it’s available in all our markets around the world at the standard we want. We’ll keep you posted on the evolutions here.

Does this give you a bit of extra insight into our Transport & Logistics service? If you have any feedback, comments or questions, please do let me know at You’ll definitely receive a response.

Keep an eye out for my next post. You’ll find out about ‘Cars from OPENLANE The Netherlands’.

Kind regards,

Gino Vleminckx
Chief Commercial Officer