Speaks the number one of the Friulian group that today works with passion the land already happily sown by his father Bernardino. The founder, Knight of the Italian Republic, who passed away last August at the age of 75, left a great void but many solid teachings that continue to guide the action of his son and of the whole company.
“Retracing the steps of the Ceccarelli Group means telling the life of my father. A life marked by acts of love: for his family, his land and his collaborators ". The message immediately arrives loud and clear: Bernardino Ceccarelli was a man out of the ordinary. He grew his business with care and sacrifice, and he did it with an unusual dedication to the people he loved. Among these is his son Luca, born in 1986, today at the helm of the company, who remembers him a few months after the death of his parent using unequivocal terms: "They lost the mold to make men like him".
Mdt - Luca Ceccarelli, could you tell us about your father's beginnings?
Luca Ceccarelli - Bernardino "Dino" Ceccarelli begins like many others, doing the job of the master driver. These are years in which transport is a sector with direct human relationships, people work hard but the pace is also and above all dictated by personal relationships. Just in that period my father begins to weave a network of strong and solid relationships that he will never stop caring for all his life. To understand, his first client is still with us. He then lived a parenthesis in the company, where he climbed the positions until he concluded his experience as a branch manager. When the business closes, you find yourself at a crossroads: joining another company or setting up your own business.
Mdt - It is one of the turning points: a sliding door that in 1979 opened the world of entrepreneurship to Bernardino.
Luca Ceccarelli - Yes, the first company of the Group was born that year, Ceccarelli Srl. It is the classic national groupage courier. From there we follow a line of constant expansion. In 1982 Transfriuli Srl was founded which still deals with industrial transport, groupage, partial or full load. In 1999 Bernardino together with three other partners opened Dilog Toscana Srl in Prato, a distribution platform for an area that is difficult to manage. They did not find partners who understood the work as they conceived it, and so they decide to take care of it directly. In Ceccarelli's vision, service has always been at the top of the list, never saying no to the customer, always looking for and finding the solution. In 2002, after Udine and Milan, the Padua branch opens, and the Trieste branch in 2010. In 2018 we created Loglab, an engineering consultancy company to assist the customers' supply chain: we develop software for both the group and our partners.
Mdt - A complex corporate structure that of the Ceccarelli Group: was this the vision of your father?
Luca Ceccarelli - Bernardino never took a euro out of the company, all profits remained within the company to be reinvested. I would not call it a strategy, but an act of love towards its reality, and above all towards workers and their families. Reinforcing the bet means believing in what you are doing and demonstrating that you are able to look far. The choice of setting up more companies may seem to be in contrast with the rest of our sector, but we have always considered it correct to dedicate a distinct structure to each line of business. Each of them has different costs and margins. If the lines are segmented, it is easier to carry out management checks and more accurate analyzes can be obtained.
Mdt - How have the company's numbers grown over the years?
Luca Ceccarelli - Up until 2008 we have had constant growth. From 2008 onwards it has become exponential. The competitors suffered from the economic crisis of those years while we reaped the fruits of the previous work. Bernardino was able to delegate, to build a team. Today it continues to be like this. We are 180 direct employees and the same number of indirect employees. All formed as a team to work for the good of the company.
Mdt - How did the last year and a half go?
Luca Ceccarelli - 2020 had started well, we closed January and February with a positive sign that even reached 20%. Then everything stopped, we left again in June, we stopped again in October, we closed the year with a slight recovery. Twelve months of roller coasters. Today we are still doing the math, but the consolidated turnover has indicatively gone from 32 million in 2019 to 36 in 2020. Of course, the margins were not what we had estimated, but the profits were there and, considering the general inconvenience, we admit to having brought home an excellent result. 2021 has started uncertainly, everyone seems to be waiting. Volumes are contained, internal and industrial logistics are growing, while national groupage transport has undergone a huge decline. Do you see what diversification is for? We can push the sectors that are currently supporting the train of the national economy.
Mdt - Let's talk about vehicles: can you tell us the specifics of your fleet?
Luca Ceccarelli - The Group has 60 road tractors, low-bed and non-low-bed, box-carrying tractors, and four-axle flatbed tractors. We also have 40 semi-trailers and a hundred swap bodies. Over time we have tested various brands. Today we rely above all on Scania, MAN and Iveco. The product responds perfectly to our needs and the reference dealerships know how to assist us in a precious way. The entire fleet is Euro 5 or 6, and is very young, since we replace the vehicle every 5 years. Obviously we keep ourselves informed about everything that the market offers, and in particular about the products that allow us to pollute less and reduce operating costs. I believe that the short-term solution may be methane, then hydrogen and electricity will arrive. However, we hope that the turning point of 2040, when diesel trucks will no longer be marketed, should not fall on the heads of us entrepreneurs as an imposed evil, but that the Legislator will be able to accompany us in this process. With incentives in the purchase phase, but also coherent policies to support. For example with regard to the payment of tolls: those who pollute less must pay less, or not pay at all. For us, sustainability is a central topic and we are attentive to every variation, starting with the packaging issue.
MDT - Your family is closely linked to sports: how did it all start?
Luca Ceccarelli - In 1977 my father founded a sports club in the country where he moved with his wife: Libertas Martignacco. The reason for this decision? Supporting the territory certainly, but also a personal matter. Once again a gesture of love. My mother plays volleyball and there is no women's team in the village. He invents it, to allow his Mariarosa to play close to home. Over time we have always supported the team and accompanied them on a path of success. Today he plays in the national Serie A2. Sport taught my father a lot. Never give up and don't look for alibis. Be aware of your limits and work to overcome them. But above all, take responsibility for one's actions and respect employees as if they were teammates.
Cristina Alitieri, Il Mondo dei Trasporti