Your path to growth
Your path to growth

A career in Contract Logistics

A career in Contract Logistics: how Bart Beeks went from intern to Global Contract Logistics Leader at CEVA

If there’s a single thread winding its way through Bart Beeks’ career at CEVA Logistics, it has to be one of continuous learning, combined with the generous sharing of the benefit of that knowledge. Bart has spent the bulk of his career, over 25 years, at CEVA Logistics. Starting as an intern, he is now head of CEVA’s international Contract Logistics (CL) operations, employing thousands of people in over 170 countries, with over 10.4million sqm of warehouse space.

In person, Bart is open and personable, fond of precision and punctuality thanks to his military background but flexible enough to go with the flow when the occasion demands. He favors a supportive leadership style, empowering his people and giving them the opportunity to grow and develop within the organization. He takes pride in the success of the people he has hired and mentored over the years, and in the success of the contract logistics division as a whole. 

Early career 

Bart was drawn to logistics thanks to the dynamic nature of the industry. Having spent several years travelling the world in the Dutch Special Forces, he was looking for something that offered stability in terms of location and a strong human connection. He found that interactivity in logistics, starting out at the Dutch Postal Service, which had a logistics division. 



He soon moved to TNT, CEVA’s predecessor, where he was able to bring his understanding of the importance of teamwork, belief in setting a positive example and strong discipline to bear from his military career. In his early career, he particularly enjoyed putting teams together and helping them work effectively, seeing how this directly affected the relationship with customers. 

He found that building high-performing teams was a great motivator – both for the people within them and those around them. As Bart says: “Everyone wants to be part of a successful team, where they have a bond with each other and are valued and recognized for their contribution – it doesn’t matter where you are in the world.” 

The open, international culture and team within CEVA has always been an asset. Bart mentions it as a point of pride. “We have Brazilians in Brazil, Chinese people working in China and so on, while CEVA’s headquarters may be French, the company is a very outward-facing, international place, where you can really build your career.” 


Developing leadership skills 

Leading teams continued to play a central part in Bart’s time at CEVA, as his career progressed and he became responsible for more people. He found that he needed to learn to delegate and empower his team to act and take decisions on behalf of the company on a daily basis. CEVA supported his professional development, with the ready provision of opportunity.  

CEVA’s global operations soon took Bart away from the Netherlands again, to Australia and Spain. Moving to Spain provided a linguistic challenge; although he was already proficient in Dutch, English and German. In addition to learning Spanish, there was the question of adapting to different cultural expectations. Bart explains:  


“When I arrived, I arranged my first meeting for 8am – I turned up and I was the only one in the room. So I started calling people, and I heard “I’m on the way,”, “I’m just having a coffee,” “I had to drop my kids off” and so on. So, what do you do? I could’ve got upset but it wasn’t about a lack of commitment – it was simply a different cultural approach. So I learned – that if I wanted to start at 9am, I’d set the meeting for 8am. You have to respect the culture and go with the flow.” 

Bart continued to mentor his team, many of whom still work within CEVA, testament to his belief in developing talent. He says: “I hired people who are still working in the Spanish operation. I take pride in that and we shouldn’t underestimate the value of internal promotion. Often we hire externally in CEVA, ideally we need to have a healthy mix of both internal and external candidates.” 



Designing strategy fit for a global company 

Now, as a senior leader, Bart is directly responsible for building the strategy that has seen CEVA’s contract logistics division become a high-performing, profitable unit. Working with a large team of 50 senior leaders, including regional leadership, the CL team has incorporated new acquisitions and built a straightforward, successful, global strategy. 

He stresses the need for clear communication and mentions Barack Obama as an inspiration, in terms of how he brings people together in pursuit of a common goal. “CEVA is a business of thousands of people, working across the globe – so it’s crucial to coordinate everyone and ensure they understand what the business is aiming for and their role within that”.  

Bart is keen to see members of his team progress within CEVA to help with the implementation of the strategy. Logistics is a people-driven company and he emphasizes the importance of continuity in global and regional management, in order to stabilize activity in regions and communicate the strategy effectively. 


An international organization, with international teams 

Following his own success within CEVA, Bart still sees contract logistics as having the potential to provide a great career. As a future-proof area of the economy, it’s a good place to be. People will always need products storing and moving around the world. There are some interesting trends in play too, with increased sustainability being important to CEVA and the need for further automation in some areas of the business too, to improve operational performance.  

As a young trainee, it’s possible to move within roles within CL, building up your knowledge and understanding of the business. There is a particular demand for engineers, with strong technical talent. And there’s always a need for people with leadership skills, to take the helm within both large and small teams operating within the CL environment. As Bart says, “Good leadership is something you have to learn. If you learn it early in your career, it provides the basis to become a great leader later on.” 

Bart Beeks is living proof of the ability to create a lifelong career at CEVA Logistics. With his journey from intern to head of one of the largest and most significant divisions of the organization, he demonstrates the values of excellence, boldness and leadership in his approach to leadership and lifelong learning. If you think you’d like to work with a leader like Bart, check out some of the opportunities we’ve got available right now at CEVA Logistics.

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