The ride of Anita Melskens

Featured image
Logo Looop
25 May 2023

On the road with Anita

You may well have encountered her smiling and waving along the way. Since March 2022, Anita has been on the road for Looop in her Scania.

Anita joined Looop in 2020 as an assistant transport planner. After years of experience on the truck, it started itching more and more and she decided to get behind the wheel again this spring. As a lady, she knows how to hold her own on the road. Wondering what a working day looks like for Anita? She is happy to answer the most common questions asked of her on the road!

Vrachtwagen in weiland

On the road, Anita often gets the same questions, both from workers at factories, farmers, and other drivers on the road. Below she answers the eight most common.

How do you start your day?

I usually start in the morning between 05:00 and 06:00, it depends a bit on what the schedule looks like and what time I finished the day before. At least 9 hours of rest is required by law. Half an hour before I want to leave I get up. Then I get ready, brush my teeth, walk around the truck to check, and get ready for the start! No coffee for me in the morning, I prefer chocolate milk.

What does your day look like in a nutshell?

The big picture is often the same. Loading at a factory in the morning and then unloading at a farm. Usually, there is still time to load somewhere and even unload at a farmer's or another factory. Still, every day is different. We have a series of factories where we load every day, but at the same time, there are a huge number of farmers where we unload! There are colleagues who after years still come to farmers where they have never been before.

At a farm, I never know what I will encounter. The weather has a big influence on that. Frozen? Chances are that a pipe at the farmer is frozen, and the challenge is to get it open again. Reclaimed? A paved or asphalted yard is not a given everywhere, so it's 'mit de puuetjes in de drek'!

Isn't the work physically demanding?

Not really! Of course, there are situations in which I would like to have more strength or body weight that I can throw into the struggle, but if you are not strong, you have to be smart! I often clamp heavy hoses between my legs, then I have 2 hands free to tighten a coupling. At the farm or some factories, situations are sometimes clumsy, but I manage just fine there! The truck driving itself is nothing like it used to be.

What do you like most about your job?

Freedom is wonderful! In this job, we (almost) never have to deal with fixed loading or unloading times. This means that, to a certain extent, I have the freedom myself what time I start, what time I work, and when I take a break. As long as the work gets done. With farmers and factories, there is also a lot of freedom. It doesn't happen easily that someone is watching your fingers; I've experienced that different in other types of transportation. Once I arrive at a farm, I usually don't have much more information than a silo number where I need to unload. Finding out exactly where I need to be and how everything works are something I enjoy!

In addition, farms are often remote, which means we get to see some very nice places. Narrow field roads, and tight dikes, keeps it exciting!

Vrachtwagen in weiland

Do you meet many people throughout the day?

That varies a lot from day to day! At factories, I regularly meet colleagues from Looop but also employees from other transport companies. The nice thing about that is that I often see the same faces, which makes for great conversations! There are also days when I meet (almost) nobody, but I don't care about that. In general, I don't see farmers very often, but the times I do talk to a farmer, I always find it interesting to learn something about the farm. One farmer can tell whole stories, and the other just talks about 'koetjes en kalfjes (cows and calves), literally.

How do farmers and other customers view you as a female driver?

At Looop I am of course not the first female driver, which means that many people I meet are already 'used to it'. Farmers often just find it interesting and sometimes ask a whole series of questions. I like it when people ask straight out, I can appreciate it!

So where do you sleep at night? 

Where any other driver would sleep! It depends a bit on where my rows of service allow me to end the day, but usually, I'm close to a factory where we load, at a farmer's or driver's restaurant, but also sometimes in an industrial park. Sanitary facilities are not always there, but what my male colleague can do, so can I!

Are you never afraid?

No, rarely! It sometimes happens to me that I don't feel completely at ease in a place, but I think everyone has that sometimes. I am sometimes most afraid of the dogs at the farmer's, not that I am afraid of dogs, but I have had a big Rottweiler jump at me. Was a bit of a scare at the time, but heard afterward that it is a very playful dog. And remember, with sweets you always make friends!