FAST FORWARD SPRING 2008
INTERVIEW JAN WESTERHOUD DELTA-HUB IN AMSTERDAM TCT BELGIUM SPREADS ITS WINGS
DELTA BARGE FEEDER TERMINAL
WORKING ON CAPACITY TOGETHER
DELTA BARGE FEEDER TERMINAL ON ITS WAY This summer the first phase of the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal will be taken into operation on the tip of the Delta peninsula on the Maasvlakte. The infrastructure and software for operating the new terminal have already been completed, while the cranes are currently on their way from China. Four ECT staff closely involved in the project reveal the added value of the soon to be opened large scale facility for feeders and inland vessels.
Colophon Fast Forward, a business-to-business publication of ECT, appears three times a year. Please contact our Communications Department with any questions or suggestions you may have regarding the contents. Copy Rob Schoemaker, Rob Wilken (editor-in-chief) Translation Niall Martin, Dean Harte Photography Eric Bakker (unless stated otherwise) Layout Ontwerpwerk, The Hague Printing Drukkerij De Longte, Capelle a/d IJssel External coordination RWP, Voorburg Chief editor ECT Rose Wiggers Europe Container Terminals (ECT) Europe Container Terminals (ECT) is the largest and most advanced container terminal operator in Europe, handling almost three-quarters of all containers at the Port of Rotterdam. ECT operates the ECT Delta Terminal on the Maasvlakte peninsula (close to the North Sea) and the ECT City Terminal in the Eemhaven area (close to the city centre). Currently, ECT is developing a network of inland terminals to facilitate better intermodal transport between Rotterdam and the European hinterland. In 2006, ECT handled 5.49 million TEU.
ECT is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). HPH is the world’s leading port investor, developer and
NEW: DELTA-HUB IN AMSTERDAM Since the 1st of February, a dedicated inland barge has been maintaining a scheduled service between the Maasvlakte and the barge terminal of CTVrede Steinweg in Amsterdam. Customers in and around the Dutch capital now have a convenient pick-up and delivery location for containers in their own vicinity.
operator with interests in a total of 292 berths in 47 ports, spanning 24 countries throughout Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. HPH also owns a number of transportation-related service companies. In 2006, the HPH Group handled a combined throughput of 59.3 million TEU worldwide.
No rights can be derived from this publication.
P.O. Box 7385, 3000 HJ Rotterdam, the Netherlands T +31 (0) 181 278 278 F +31 (0) 181 278 315 E email@example.com | W www.ect.nl
ECT EUROMAX TERMINAL STEP BY STEP TO THE START
VEOLIA’S RAIL VISION
EVERGREEN LIVES UP TO NAME
THE TIME-CRITICAL EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION OF SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS
THE YEAR OF CAPACITY President Jan Westerhoud explains the many ways in which ECT aims to ensure the smooth handling of the constantly growing volumes. “We are doing everything we can to make optimum use of the current capacity. In addition, new terminals will gradually come on stream in the course of the year.”
VOIGT & CO FROM REACTIVE TO PROACTIVE
LINK IN THE LOGISTICS CHAIN
Regardless of whether the global economy keeps on growing unabatedly or possibly slows down somewhat in the immediate future: all experts agree that container flows will continue to increase. We at ECT of course highly welcome this. After all, loading and unloading containers is our core business. And we are very thankful to our customers for giving us the opportunity to do so. The above-mentioned statement may be obvious, but it also comes from the heart. However, there are times when it seems to clash with the actual experiences of some customers: they want to grow and grow, while we as ECT at present cannot always fully accommodate them in this. No matter how much we would like to. It was as recently as 2004 that global cargo flows suddenly soared. No market watcher had predicted this and volumes have only further increased since. From 2004 onwards, ECT has been facing the constant challenge of offering the market more capacity. A challenge which we have met with 200 percent of energy. Through a substantial and rapidly implemented investment program, the throughput at the Delta Terminals went up over 50 percent in about two years’ time. At the same time, together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the creation of new facilities has become a top priority. As early as this year, the first results of these efforts will already become tangible, with the coming on stream of phase 1 of the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal from this summer on and, slightly after that, the gradual taking into use of the ECT Euromax Terminal which will be really operational from the 1st of January 2009. To let the world know that these new terminals are on the horizon, we have declared 2008 ‘The Year of Capacity’. At the same time, this motto symbolizes the fact that, together with customers and transporters, we want to go all-out to get the most out of our existing terminals. This will commence at the sea side and, as far as we are concerned, will increasingly be spread to deep in the hinterland. A smooth transport of containers allows us to optimally utilize the capacity of the sea terminals. Initiatives such as a more even spread of containers over day and night, curbing waiting times in the stack and the consolidation of volumes at hubs in the hinterland will only increase. The dedicated Betuweroute freight railway line and the Rhine river offer plenty of opportunities to further optimize the accessibility of the port by train and inland barge. Within the logistics chain, there is a growing awareness that we are facing these challenges together. By now, we are consulting with more and more parties in order to develop new, sometimes unorthodox initiatives. The first tangible results of this are becoming visible. In our opinion, there is no better incentive to continue down this road and work together more often and more intensively in the future. After all, making optimum use of the capacity and capabilities of all the links in the logistics chain will ultimately benefit us all.
TCT BELGIUM SPREADS ITS WINGS At the inland terminal of TCT Belgium preparations are in full swing for the celebrations on May 29 to mark the operational site’s expansion to ten hectares. TCT Belgium’s managing director Martine Hiel tells the story of the terminal’s success.
Jan Westerhoud, President of ECT
TOGETHER WITH DANSER One of the top priorities of ECT for the coming period is to strengthen and optimise the supply chain together with other parties, so that customers of the port can look forward to an even better product. One of the initiatives to this extent is the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the Danser Group in mid January. This independent Dutch inland barge operator is one of the largest players in Europe. Danser and ECT have agreed to work together to further improve the flow of inland barge containers between the ECT terminals in Rotterdam and the hinterland and vice versa. This among other things translates into the intention to mutually connect computer systems via EDI, implement good planning and tracking & tracing systems, pro-actively exchange reliable and complete advance information and introduce fixed time slots for inland vessels at the terminals. The development and implementation of new logistical concepts is also among the areas of attention. Annually, the Danser Group handles more than one million TEU. Both independently and in cooperational structures, the company is active on the Rhine and the Neckar and various routes within the Benelux countries (e.g. Rotterdam - Antwerp, Rotterdam Moerdijk). Subsidiary Danser Container Line in addition maintains the daily inland barge connections between ECT’s inland terminal TCT Belgium in Willebroek and the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Furthermore, the Danser Group co-owns ten container barges and two trimodal container terminals in Basel, Switzerland.
ROTTERDAM GAINS IMPORTANCE AS RAILWAY PORT UNIQUE EXHIBITION OF MARITIME ART
GUARANTEED NIGHT-TIME HANDLING The ECT Delta Terminal and the ECT City Terminal together with more than twenty road transport companies have embarked on a pilot involving the guaranteed night-time handling of containers. In the pilot, ECT guarantees a maximum stay time at its terminals between 22.00 hours and 04.00 hours so that the transporters are able to reliably plan their follow-up transport. To companies, this must constitute an incentive to make more frequent use of quiet night times - including break times - and avoid day-time peak hours. The guaranteed maximum stay time at night ranges from 45 to 75 minutes (measured from inspection in to inspection out) and depends on the number of containers and the number of landside transfer points to be visited. Should ECT exceed the set limits, then the transporter is eligible for a maximum compensation of 40 euro per visit. ECT president Jan Westerhoud: “With the pilot, we aim to further improve the flow of containers between Rotterdam and the hinterland and vice versa, make better use of the capacity at the container terminals and offer a contribution to the prevention of congestion in the Rotterdam port.” ECT’s initiative for a guaranteed night-time handling runs ahead of a port-wide pilot ‘Nighttime driving’ which is coordinated by the port entrepreneurs’ association Deltalinqs. Its implementation will take place in the coming months under the supervision of a project group comprising all the links in the logistics chain: the Association of Rotterdam Shipbrokers and Agents, EVO, Transport and Logistics Netherlands, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Ministry of Transport and ECT. With the own pilot ‘Guaranteed Night-Time Handling’, ECT wants to optimally prepare for this port-wide pilot.
PILOT EXTENDED GATE EXPANDED The pilot initiated by the ECT Delta Terminal, shipping company APL and forwarder DHL with an extended gate at the inland terminal of TCT Venlo on the Dutch-German border has proven successful. With shipping company Evergreen and logistics service provider Seacon Logistics, two additional parties will be added to the project. The idea behind the extended gate is that containers are directly moved by train from the sea-going vessel to the hinterland terminal, which, under strict conditions, is treated as an extension of the ECT Delta Terminal by Customs. As a result, containers can be delivered to their final destinations more 4
quickly. At the same time, dwell times at the sea terminal are shortened. Paul Ham, general manager business development at ECT: “Through the extended gate, we can ensure that cargo is always at the right place at the right time. The transport between the ECT Delta Terminal and TCT Venlo takes place under our supervision. The pilot has shown that we are better able to direct cargo because of this. We expect to start with a permanent extended gate service for TCT Venlo in July 2008; after this, we will implement the concept at other inland terminals, starting with our own inland terminals TCT Belgium in Willebroek and DeCeTe in Duisburg.”
Until the 22nd of June 2008, the exhibition ‘Art from the Offices’ can be admired at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. On display are unique maritime works of art hailing from the offices of many port and port-related companies in Rotterdam. The exhibition comprises drawings, paintings, models and such which are normally not available to the public. ECT’s contribution to the exhibition is a work by the famous painter J.M. van Mastenbroek (photo), renowned for his port landscapes. Perhaps more important however is the fact that ECT’s director of Marketing & Sales Wando Boevé together with former “K” Line Nederland director Theo Strauss and maritime lawyer Gijs Noordam took the initiative for the Art from the Offices project. Maritime author Bram Oosterwijk, former Maritime Museum Rotterdam curator Leo Akveld and photographer Diederik Broekman then set out to visit more than 60 offices in search of sometimes forgotten maritime art gems. A selection of their findings is now on exhibition at the Maritime Museum. In addition, there is a companion book to the exhibition: ‘Maritime Heritage’ (available in both Dutch and English) contains a complete overview of the roughly 260 works of art found. More information: www.maritiemmuseum.nl for the exhibition and www.maritiem-erfgoed.nl for the book.
SHIPSANDBOXES.COM Most Fast Forward readers can probably talk for hours about containers, the ships that carry them and the cargo they hold. For the average person on the street, the container sector however is for the most part a black box - literally and figuratively. Most people have no idea whatsoever that they owe virtually everything around them - from TVs to fresh fruit - to container shipping. 24 of the world’s leading container shipping companies would like to change this and have therefore banded together to establish the Container Shipping Information Service. The aim is to inform a broad audience about the major role the container plays in their everyday lives. Their first tangible project is the website www.shipsandboxes.com, which among other things contains a ‘did you know’ section, a ‘jargon buster’ as well as various other topics. Why not further acquaint your family and friends with the container?
In terms of container volumes transported by train, Rotterdam now ranks second on the list of European seaports. This once again confirms Rotterdam’s increasingly stronger position in this segment. An important contributing factor is the new Betuweroute. This dedicated freight railway line, which became operational in mid-2007, comprises a 160-kilometre-long direct connection between Rotterdam and Germany. The Betuweroute is currently still in its initial phase, but expects to welcome the 1000th train one of these days. Expectations are that after this, traffic will steadily increase to ultimately 150 trains a day in 2012. In the first months of 2008, several new or additional container services were also launched from Rotterdam. Kombiverkehr from Germany for example initiated a bi-weekly shuttle between the Maasvlakte and Dortmund in the eastern Ruhr area. Rail operator Distrirail in the meantime increased the frequency of its rail shuttle between Rotterdam and Duisburg, Germany, and vice versa from one to two departures a day. This means there are now twelve rail shuttles a week connecting the ECT Delta Terminal and the inland terminal of DeCeTe.
SPECIAL PUSH BARGE CONVOYS TO GERMANY? Push barges are traditionally used to transport vast quantities of coal, ore etc. over the river Rhine to Germany. With volumes continuously on the up, newly developed versions could however also prove of use to the container sector. Instead of various inland barges which also need to call at numerous locations at the deep-sea terminal, the different parts of the ECT Delta Terminal (Delta Dedicated North, Delta Dedicated East, Delta Dedicated West) could handle complete push barges. A push tug then simultaneously takes four of these push barges (= ± 1000 TEU) over the Rhine and the Waal to a terminal centrally located in the German hinterland. From there, the containers are further distributed. With this proposed approach, the capacity of the ECT Delta Terminal can be utilized more efficiently and the flow of inland barge containers between Rotterdam and the hinterland and vice versa will substantially improve. This benefits all parties involved. The idea for the special push barges for the container sector comes from two former port entrepreneurs (Peter Hoogwout and Jaap Kuiper) who operate under the name Duwvaart Container Shuttle. Together with the ECT Delta Terminal and the five large Rhine barge operators Alcotrans, Contargo, H&SCL, Rhinecontainer and Penta (which together account for an annual volume of approx. 1.8 million TEU to and from the Rhine ports), the practical feasibility of their idea is now being studied. In this study, organizational, economic, technical and nautical aspects will be reviewed. The participants have committed their participation in the feasibility study in a Memorandum of Understanding which they all signed on the 20th of February. 5
ONLY EDI AS OF 1 JUNE 2008
ATTRACTIVE BUNKER PORT Rotterdam is one of the most attractive bunker ports in the world. The substantial amounts of fuel on offer - a result of all the main refineries being located in the direct vicinity - make the tariffs for bunkering highly competitive. In March, shipping companies paid $ 459 for a tonne of IFO 380 (the most commonly used bunker oil) in Rotterdam, against $ 485.5 in Singapore. As is the case for all other fuels, the price of bunker oil has soared over the last year. As a result, container lines are increasingly deciding to lower their sailing speeds. A speed reduction of 10 percent can save more than 25 percent in fuel. At the same time, this also reduces the emission of CO2. In order to maintain the sailing schedules at these lower speeds, an extra vessel is often added to existing services. Even then, the total operational costs however are still lower. When bunkering in Rotterdam, ECT emphasizes the importance of properly coordinating this activity with the cargo handling operation. Once all the containers have been discharged and loaded, vessels must not unnecessarily occupy the quay as this prevents the capacity of the terminals being optimally utilized. The Port of Rotterdam and ECT in addition consider safety of paramount importance. During lashing activities, for example, it is mandatory for container ships to fly an orange flag to indicate that bunker barges are not allowed alongside.
In order to be able to continue offering good service levels, ECT will from the 1st of June fully switch to electronic data interchange (EDI) with customers and transporters. All forms of ‘traditional’ operational data exchange involving paper will then come to an end. In early 2007, ECT already initiated an intensive campaign to prepare all the links in the logistics chain for this moment. Tom Niels, head of the responsible Quality & Optimisation department: “And even after the 1st of June, we will still adopt a four-month transition period during which we as ECT will endeavour to where necessary further improve the quality of the data exchange.” When looking at the statistics, a lot has however already been accomplished: “In January, the exchange of information via EDI increased by 27 percent, in March this was even 42 percent. The rail sector for example, which has traditionally always scored lower than other modes of transport, has now in a short time achieved an EDI coverage of 80 percent.” Niels emphasises that the obligation to electronically communicate with ECT from the 1st of June is realistic for all parties. “In addition to EDI, there are various easily accessible options for this: through the Port Community System of Port infolink or via our own website.” At www.ect.nl, companies can for example use a discharge-loading converter. This makes it possible to easily upload discharge and loading lists via Excel. The converter then automatically puts the data into the EDI format. “What it boils down to now is the final spurt,” says Niels. “After October 1, it will be ‘no match - no access’; containers without the correct electronic information will not be welcome. Compare it to the air transport industry, where you cannot check in if your reservation number does not match the flight. Our message to the container industry is therefore: please check before you leave and make sure your containers will be accepted at the ECT terminals.” ECT will work closely together with all customers and transporters to make the ‘no match - no access’ principle work. “During the aforementioned transition period, we will make sure that truly everyone becomes familiar with the requirements for a smooth terminal visit. And what’s more: as regards the environment, EDI will also contribute to an environment-friendly data exchange.”
EFFICIENT DELTA TRIP WITH CARGO CARD The port-wide Cargo Card was successfully introduced at the ECT Delta Terminal at the end of 2007. Truck drivers are now using this personalized ID card for their entire terminal visit. This starts with gaining access to the pre-gate area. At the reception building, all the information necessary for the pick-up and delivery of containers is then linked to the driver’s Cargo Card. A separate terrain card is therefore no longer required. By holding the Cargo Card up to a reader at each process point on the terminal inspection gate in/out, landside transfer points, Customs - the terminal system
automatically generates the required action. The usage of the Cargo Card is a first step towards ECT’s ultimate goal of one-stop processing, in which drivers no longer need to exit their cabins upon arrival at the Delta. As an intermediary phase, ECT will this year initiate a pilot with remote check-in. In this pilot, road transporters will be able to compose truck visits from behind their own PCs. Drivers without a Cargo Card nowadays need to first park their trucks at the entrance of the pre-gate area in order to purchase a temporary terrain card for ten euro at the security lodge.
Delta-hub in Amsterdam
Since the 1st of February, a dedicated inland barge has been maintaining a regularly scheduled service between the Delta peninsula at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam and the inland barge terminal of CTVrede - Steinweg in Amsterdam. As a result, road transporters and shippers in and around the Dutch capital now have a convenient pick-up and delivery location for containers in their own vicinity. “Thick container flows transported by river and rail between Rotterdam and the hinterland have the future,” says Paul Ham, general manager business development at ECT. “It ensures an optimum accessibility of regions, allows for trucks to be taken off the road and enables us to offer customers a better product.” ECT of course already has a lot of experience with this concept through the company’s own inland terminals in Venlo, Duisburg and Willebroek. Together with third parties, the container stevedore now aims to also quickly create hubs in other regions. The inland barge terminal of CTVrede - Steinweg in the port of Amsterdam is the first location where this is the case. Every day, an inland barge links the ECT Delta Terminal and its neighbour APMT (the third party in the cooperation) to the container handling point some 120 kilometres to the north. Ham: “We feel CTVrede - Steinweg constitutes an ideal hub in the container transport to and from the Amsterdam region and the area to the north of that. Instead of a time-consuming journey over densely packed motorways, road
transporters and shippers can from now on pick up and deliver containers in their own vicinity.” The smaller inland barge terminals further to the north can also use CTVrede - Steinweg as a hub. They no longer need to sail all the way to Rotterdam and then join the back of the queue at the Maasvlakte. The more consolidation takes place, the better CTVrede Steinweg will be able to group the containers efficiently for each separate terminal at the Maasvlakte. “In the end, this benefits all parties involved.”
Like a Bus Service Bas Gort, managing director of CTVrede - Steinweg, emphasizes that the new Rotterdam - Amsterdam con-
nection is based on a growth model. “Without giving it too much publicity, we started with the deployment of one 156-TEU inland barge on the 1st of February. We first wanted to assure ourselves of the concept’s feasibility: reliability is very important.” Two months later, Gort cannot help but conclude that the shuttle functions perfectly. “Of course, there are still some minor points of attention, but the service very much runs like a bus service. Both ECT and APMT guarantee fixed time slots. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the inland barge is here with us in Amsterdam; on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends the vessel is handled at the sea terminals at the Maasvlakte.” Despite the low degree of publicity, volumes are therefore rapidly increasing. Gort: “A good product works like a magnet. We have noticed that word has gotten around throughout the transport sector. As soon as it is necessary, we will further increase the capacity. We have the same ambition for our empty depot function for shipping companies.”
Future As far as Paul Ham is concerned, the cooperation with CTVrede - Steinweg is just a first step. ECT would also like hubs in other regions in the Netherlands. “We have to make choices. With container volumes constantly on the up, we cannot continue to facilitate everyone at the Maasvlakte. From the point of view of social entrepreneurship, we in addition want to contribute to the so-desired modal shift.”
CTVrede - Steinweg The Amsterdam-based inland barge terminal of CTVrede - Steinweg has 450 metres of quay with a water depth of twelve metres. Handling takes place using a mobile crane. For the efficient exchange of data, CTVrede - Steinweg has an EDI link-up with both the ECT Delta Terminal and APMT. For more information: www.ctvrede.nl.
“We are fully focussed on further boosting service levels, efficiency and, with that, the performance at our terminals.”
The Year of Capacity
ECT has declared 2008 ‘The Year of Capacity’.
the new Delta Barge Feeder Terminal and the
“In 2007, the volumes at our sea terminals increased by more than twelve percent,” reflects Jan Westerhoud on the year in which ECT marked its 40th anniversary. The president is content with these results. “Especially when looking at the start of 2007. Storms, an overflowing stack and, on top of that, industrial actions by the leading harbour tugboat company made the first months very difficult. After that, things gradually started to pick up again though. We handled more containers at the terminals than we initially deemed possible, set record after record.” The new IT system for operating the ECT Delta Terminal, which was introduced in 2006, played a major role in this. “The new system is proving far sturdier than the old one. In view of the constantly growing volumes, replacing the old system was a right decision.”
ECT Euromax Terminal will gradually come on
Double Digits Again
ECT president Jan Westerhoud explains the many ways in which his company aims to ensure the smooth handling of the constantly growing volumes. “We are doing everything we can to make optimum use of the capacity that we currently have available. In addition,
stream in the course of the year.”
For 2008, Westerhoud again expects a double-digit volume growth. He however does add a minor note. “At present, there is still some uncertainty as to how the global economy will react to the credit crisis.” Despite this, ECT is preparing
for an undiminished influx of containers at both the land side and the sea side. 2008 has therefore been declared ‘The Year of Capacity’, a motto with different angles. Westerhoud: “Through this motto, we firstly express our responsibility to offer customers the most optimum capacity which we currently have at our disposal. In addition, new capacity will gradually become available in the course of the year through the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal and the ECT Euromax Terminal.”
Tighter Cargo Opening Time Those new facilities are not yet available. The coming period, ECT is therefore facing the challenge of having to do the job with the existing terminals. “This makes 2008 a difficult year. With the same capacity, we are expected to handle more volumes. To achieve this, we are fully focussed on further boosting service levels, efficiency and, with that, the performance at our terminals. We have introduced various measures to this extent: internal, but external as well,” says Westerhoud. One such external measure is the tightening of the Cargo Opening Time, introduced last year to structurally improve container flows. As of May the 1st, the time at which containers are welcome at the terminal
will be shortened from nine to eight days prior to the arrival of the deep-sea vessel. “I realize all too well that each measure that leads to less flexibility does hurt our customers. At the same time, this puts additional pressure on us to prove in practice that such a measure is indeed also to their benefit.”
All Round the Table “We are currently handling record numbers,” continues Westerhoud. “Not all parties however always experience that we as ECT are doing a good job. The handling of deepsea vessels in combination with feeders, inland barges, trains and trucks remains complex. Our aim is to service everyone as good as possible.” As cargo accumulates, waiting times for feeders and inland barges however cannot always be avoided. New concepts must therefore help to further streamline the hinterland transport. ECT is investing a lot of time and energy in this. For example, a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at improving the inland navigation product has recently been signed with inland barge operator Danser. Furthermore, a pilot involving the guaranteed night-time handling of trucks has been initiated and, together with several inland barge parties, 9
a feasibility study is being carried out into the deployment of push barges for the transport of containers to and from Germany. Westerhoud: “One of the benefits of these and other initiatives is certainly also that it has brought different parties round the table. No one can do it alone. More and more links in the logistics chain are starting to realize that we have to do things together. And as far as we are concerned, this will only increase in the future. We are seeking solutions that can quickly offer relief. Also by looking at more capacity beyond the Maasvlakte, in the hinterland. An example of this is the current pilot with an inland hub at CTVrede - Steinweg in Amsterdam (also see article on page 7, ed.). With that, we both unburden the ECT Delta Terminal and the A15, the motorway which directly connects Rotterdam to the European motorway network.”
Opening 5th of September As already mentioned, The Year of Capacity will also gradually see the addition of new terminals. On the northernmost point of the present Delta peninsula, the first phase of the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal will commence operations in the course of the summer. With this, ECT is creating additional capacity for the handling of feeders and inland barges (also see article on page 12- 13, ed.). The official opening of the ECT Euromax Terminal - the new deep-sea terminal on the northern side of the Maasvlakte - has been set for the 5th of September and coincides with the start of the World Port Days, with 400,000 visitors on average one of the largest annual public events in Rotterdam. “The remainder of 2008 will then primarily be a period of operational testing for the ECT Euromax Terminal. The ter-
New concepts must help to further streamline the hinterland transport. ECT is investing a lot of time and energy in this.
minal will really be ready for commercial use as of the 1st of January 2009 (also see article on page 11, ed.).” ECT will operate the Euromax Terminal together with the CKYH alliance, a cooperation between the shipping lines Cosco, “K” Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin. Westerhoud: “Contract negotiations are almost completed. They involve a comprehensive set of parties and agreements. We are therefore taking the time to come to good agreements with each other.”
Step by Step to the Start
European Scope In addition to president of ECT, Jan Westerhoud has also been division director of Hutchison Port Holdings for Northern Europe since the 1st of January 2008. This has considerably widened his scope. “In my role as HPH director, I am currently working on further chartering Europe. The coming months, this strategic orientation of existing and new initiatives will be further fleshed out. Our aim is a strong network of ports in Europe. This will also add an additional dimension to ECT.” With the Port of Rotterdam Authority having officially confirmed the reservation of space for expanding the ECT Euromax Terminal at Maasvlakte 2 (the port’s land reclamation scheme in the North Sea which is supposed to come on stream in 2013) ECT can face the future with confidence. 2008 however still holds its own challenges. “We will really have to go all-out.” 2009 will also still be a transition year. At that time, space will become available at the Delta Dedicated North Terminal (DDN) due to the relocation of the CKYH alliance to the Euromax. But before the DDN can be issued again, it first needs to be drastically upgraded. “We have been postponing it for years, but now it really has to happen. The current state of the DDN site is causing more and more disruptions to the equipment. Once this upgrade has been completed, we will however also be able to substantially grow at the ECT Delta Terminal again.”
All the facets of the new ECT Euromax Terminal in the north-westerly corner of the Maasvlakte are being busily tested. Although there are still many milestones which need to be met, the mega project is right on schedule. Everything at ECT is geared to gradually bringing the deep-sea terminal into operational testing as of the 1st of July.
When approaching the site of the new ECT Euromax Terminal, the impressive amounts of steel in the characteristic blue and orange colours can already be seen from far away. Significant amounts of equipment for the first phase of the terminal (also see box) are already present and are currently being subjected to extensive testing. After each piece of equipment was first tested separately, tests are now more frequently and intensively geared to seeing how they perform in conjunction with one another. Along the sea quay, the deep-sea quay cranes regularly practice the loading and unloading operations using push barges and inland vessels. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) then transport
ECT Euromax Terminal Phase 1 Size (hectares) Quay wall (in metres) Capacity (in TEUs) Water depth (in metres) Quay cranes Barge/feeder cranes Terminal chassis Rail cranes Automated Guided Vehicles Automated Rail Mounted Gantry cranes Terminal tractors Reach stackers Forklifts
84 1500 2,300,000 16.65 > 19.65 12 4 124 2 96 58 18 3 6
the containers to the stack so that Automated Rail Mounted Gantry cranes (ARMGs) can put the boxes at their right locations here and pick them up again. On the land side, the process is steadily progressing as well. In early April, the on-site rail terminal received its first fully loaded test train. Truck handling is also increasingly beginning to take shape. Drivers who have properly pre-notified their arrival and can identify themselves with a Cargo Card will not need to leave their cabins at the Euromax. Both the devices for this and the automatic inspection gate are currently being thoroughly tested. An important additional plus at the ECT Euromax Terminal will also be the presence of a drive-through scan of Customs. This advanced inspection tool will be fully integrated in the terminal’s logistical concept.
New Office Building Certainly also striking is the ninestorey office building of the ECT Euromax Terminal which sports splendid views of Rotterdam’s port entrance. Not that anyone is paying attention to that, though. On many floors, things are already buzzing with activity. Highly concentrated, many eyes continuously stare at the computer screens of the Navis terminal operating system which coordinates the complex processes taking place outside. Other areas have been
furnished as training locations. Some 95 percent of the operational staff for phase 1 are already on-site, so that all the aspects of the terminal can be intensively trained beforehand.
Gradually on Stream from 1 July Everything at ECT is geared to gradually bringing the Euromax Terminal into operational testing as of the 1st of July. At that time, 600 metres of quay with four deep-sea cranes and two barge/feeder cranes will be available. Until mid 2009, the remaining 900 metres of quay and equipment of phase 1 will then be phased in. ECT and partner CKYH (Cosco, “K” Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin) have reserved six months to get from a ‘running terminal’ to a ‘running business’. This means that from July, a first service of the CKYH alliance will be calling at the Euromax Terminal each week. Once this vessel has been handled and the movements of the associated modalities have been dealt with, the terminal each time has a number of days to evaluate the rendered performance and come to adjustments. Once the process runs smoothly, a next service will be welcome etc. In that way, the ECT Euromax Terminal must be ready for actual commercial exploitation from the 1st of January 2009. The official opening will however take place earlier, on the 5th of September, at the start of the annual World Port Days. 11
Delta Barge Feeder Terminal on its Way
Ton Leenderts, Florian Vreeburg, Ivo van Hassel and Theo van Zijll (from left to right): There is no other port in Europe that offers the inland shipping and feeder sector such extensive ‘own’ facilities as the DBF Terminal.
This summer the first phase of the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal will be taken into operation on the tip of the Delta peninsula on the Maasvlakte. The infrastructure and software for operating the new terminal have already been completed, while the cranes are currently on their way from China. Four ECT staff closely involved in the project reveal the added value of the soon to be opened large scale facility for feeders and inland vessels.
Phase 1 of the Delta Barge Feeder Terminal (DBF Terminal) offers feeders and barges 400 metres of quay (to a depth of 10 to 11 metres) with three wide-span gantry cranes, good for an additional capacity of 300,000 moves. The new terminal brings ECT and its customers extra capacity in a number of different ways, explains construction manager Ivo van Hassel, who is closely involved in the project along with Ton Leenderts who is responsible for terminal commissioning, commercial executive Florian Vreeburg and Theo van Zijll, operations manager for feeders and inland shipping. “Feeders and inland barges will soon have their own quay, while the additional capacity will also serve to lighten the load for the sea-quays.”
looked a good option for constructing a new terminal specifically for these two modalities. In late 2005 the Port Authority began construction on the 840 metres of quay required. In order to make sufficient space it was first necessary to create additional landmass. A dam wall was built some 75 metres out in the water from the Delta’s head, after which the new terrain was raised depositing 700.000 m3 sand inside. Subsequently, in early 2007, ECT was able to begin constructing the terminal infrastructure and also started developing the necessary software. The new DBF Terminal will be completely integrated in the Navis-operating system of the Delta complex.
How it all Started
Phase 1 Operational
The first proposals for the DBF Terminal date back to 2004. It had become clear that with growing volumes, barges and feeders would become increasingly difficult to accommodate along the deep-sea quays of the Delta Terminal complex. In consultation with the Rotterdam Port Authority, it was decided that the unused tip of the Delta peninsula
The first phase of the DBF Terminal, comprising the already mentioned 400 metres of quay with the three wide-span gantry cranes currently on their way to Rotterdam from China, will this summer be taken into operation. The cranes are unique. The distance between the front and back legs of each crane is 61 metres, that between outreach and back-
reach no less than 135 metres. Van Hassel: “Cranes of this size are also a first for manufacturer ZPMC.” The cranes will be used on both the sea side for discharging and loading feeders and barges and on the land side for handling the multi-trailers systems (MTS systems). These container trains on wheels will take care here of the delivery and collection of containers. Leenderts: “30 new MTS systems have been purchased especially for the DBF Terminal.” Another special feature of the new cranes is that they offer the possibility for stacking between their own legs. Van Zijll explains the added value of this feature: “At times when the terminal is less busy it enables us to stack containers here in advance of the arrival of the ship. Pre-stacking in this way speeds up operations. Of course we can only do this on condition that the customer provides us with reliable and timely advance information. Otherwise it’s obviously impossible to prepare ahead.”
(Delta Dedicated North, Delta Dedicated East, Delta Dedicated West). We aim for the most flexible and efficient way of working for both the customer and ECT.”
Phase 2 and Beyond Shortly after phase 1 becomes operational this summer, ECT is due to take the remaining 440 metres of quay comprising phase 2 into operation this autumn, thereby boosting the number of berths at the DBF Terminal to six or seven. Having completed a job on one ship, the crane can then move on immediately to the next vessel. Depending on how the market develops, ECT also intends to boost the number of cranes on the DBF Terminal to seven in all. Other plans for the future include the deployment of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to replace the MTS systems being used in the operation’s start-up.
“Feeders and barges are urgently in need of the additional capacity,” adds Vreeburg. “But in fact all modalities will reap the benefits, for the deep-sea quays will also gain added leeway.” The new situation will however not result in feeders and barges all being handled on the DBF Terminal. On the contrary, says Van Zijll: “Terminal-hopping on the Delta peninsula will always be a fact of life, although it will happen less frequently. We will continue to handle ships at the most suitable location in terms of capacity and the connection with the deep-sea vessel. Feeder and inland shipping operators will thus have to keep stowing per terminal
But those are still matters for the future. At present the fact is that ECT’s imminent use of phase 1 of the DBF Terminal will enable it to give greater priority and therefore more service to feeders and barges. As far as the four ECT staff involved in the project have been able to ascertain, there is no other port in Europe that offers these two modalities such extensive ‘own’ facilities. There’s one ‘but’: “If all vessels call at port at the same time, it won’t do much to alleviate waiting times. An even spread of ships throughout the week remains a priority. The same holds true for the further bundling of volumes.” 13
French private rail company Veolia Cargo revealed the extent of its European ambitions with the takeover of sector rival Rail4Chem in early 2008. Managing director Jac Herijgers of the Dutch division comments on the latest developments within the company and the sector in general: “To achieve optimal capacity utilization ECT has
Veolia’s Rail Vision
to ensure it’s the boss on the Euromax rail terminal.” Since spring 2007 Veolia Cargo plies a meanwhile four times daily train service between the ECT Delta Terminal on the Maasvlakte and TCT Venlo’s inland terminal in the southeastern Netherlands. The contract with ECT represented a market breakthrough for the subsidiary of a major French conglomerate (see box). It was only the year Veolia Cargo managing director Jac Herijgers: “We are eyeing several new destinations to be served from Rotterdam.”
before that Veolia Cargo started services in the Netherlands after acquiring its Dutch rail licence. Managing director Jac Herijgers - an old hand in the rail business - knows why ECT opted for his then small company. “Most of Veolia Cargo’s management used to work for ShortLines, a railway company that operated the same route to ECT’s satisfaction from 2002 to 2004 but was then taken over by Rail4Chem.” Needless to say, that wasn’t the only reason to opt for Veolia Cargo. Herijgers sums up four considerations that he feels played a role in the selection: “Attention to the client’s needs, a highly motivated team, high-quality rolling stock and innovation.” The latter should be seen in the light of day-to-day practice in the rail sector, for aspects such as punctuality, effective feedback, optimal attunement to client needs and thinking commercially would appear to be self-evident rather than revolutionary. In the rail sector however they really make a difference. “We’ve organised our services in such a way that if one train is cancelled, the next still departs on time. Previously a cancellation would have disrupted the entire transport network,” Herijgers explains.
Rail4Chem Takeover Veolia Cargo is expanding rapidly. The French parent company acquired its German sector rival Rail4Chem in early 2008, transforming Veolia Cargo into one of Europe’s larger players in one fell swoop. As a result of the takeover, Veolia’s turnover has jumped to 200 million euros from 120 million. But the company also aims to grow its intermodal transport independent of acquisitions. Two joint ventures with CMA CGM (Rail Link for transport management, Veolia Link for traction supply) are aimed at boosting the number of pan-European shuttle trains in a short space of time. Veolia Cargo Netherlands, too, is looking to increase its container business significantly. In addition to taking over existing Rail4Chem services Herijgers is eyeing several other new destinations to be served from Rotterdam, although at this point he won’t go into detail. “First the service, then the information,” he smiles. Given the company’s French roots and the joint ventures with CMA CGM, the new routes will
Veolia Cargo Veolia Cargo is a division of France’s Veolia Environment, which has four areas of expertise: water management, waste processing, energy and transport. With regard to the latter, the company is a major public transport player and from 1996 onwards began developing a rail cargo division. Veolia Environment employs more than 300.000 staff. Its turnover in 2007 amounted to 32.6 billion euros.
definitely include shuttle services to France. As such Veolia Cargo could provide key leverage for Rotterdam in gaining access to the French rail market, until recently characterized by its high levels of protectionism.
Considerable Additional Capacity Along the west-east axis it’s the dedicated Betuweroute that will play an important role in the expansion of Veolia’s services out of Rotterdam. The new 160-kilometre freightonly rail line links the port directly with Germany and offers considerable extra capacity. Herijgers points out other advantages of the link opened in June last year: “In Keyrail the Betuweroute has its own ambitious network manager and that acts as a stimulus for ProRail, which manages the remainder of the Dutch rail network. I’ve really noticed that the sector is actively improving its positioning.” Of course there’s still work to be done, for example in optimizing use of the Port railway line, which forms part of the Betuweroute, and the rail terminals in the port. Herijgers: “In view of the rapid increase in rail traffic, terminal slots and train paths should be utilized in the best way possible. That’s why we, together with a large number of other parties in the rail chain, are participating in a pilot coordinated by Keyrail. The aim is to further improve the rail transport process and to boost capacity utilization in Rotterdam port through better top-down management.” The Veolia managing director believes there is much to be won by a sharper allocation of slots to operators for handling their trains at the rail terminals. “The number of moves should determine the slot duration. That’s not the case at present. And once operators have finished offloading and loading, they should be quick to remove their rail wagons. Keyrail can encourage them to do that by allocating train paths that follow directly on the handling process.”
Boss of the Euromax Herijgers notes that all too often trains on a rail terminal stay standing in the way. This hampers operations and leads to under-utilization of the available capacity. Following on from this he has an important piece of advice to give ECT about the use of the on-dock rail terminal at the new ECT Euromax Terminal. “Make sure you’re the boss. By not letting the rail companies drive the trains on and off the terminal but doing it yourself, you’re in a position to utilize the available handling capacity to the full. The same holds true for the existing Rail Terminal East and West on the Maasvlakte by the way.” As of the 1st of July, managing director Jac Herijgers will exchange his current position at Veolia Cargo for a consultancy position.
At the inland terminal of TCT Belgium in Willebroek preparations are in full swing for
Managing director Martine Hiel: “As a result of the expansion we have boosted
the celebrations on May 29 to mark the operational site’s expansion to ten hectares.
the operational site from 6,5 hectares to 10 hectares and ramped up capacity to
A festive occasion for the clients, the region and of course for parent company ECT.
180,000 TEU – 200,000 TEU per year.”
TCT Belgium’s managing director Martine Hiel tells the story of the terminal’s success. “Which came first, the chicken or the egg,” laughs managing director Martine Hiel of TCT Belgium. “Is it because of us that the region around our inland terminal is flourishing, or is it TCT Belgium that’s benefiting from the influx of distribution companies to the region? The fact is that since the year 2000, when we started here with our first client Mazda, unemployment in Willebroek has fallen from sixteen to five percent. And many of the new companies that are setting up a base in the region come to us straight away, as did one of our most recent customers, H&M.” Chicken or egg, for Hiel it’s not a problem. And nor is it a problem for the local authorities - they are deploying their best efforts to accommodate the inland terminal. That includes boosting its accessibility: a new ring road around Willebroek has been built and a nearby bridge across the Scheldt-Brussels sea canal will be broadened from 16 metres to 57 metres by the end of 2008. “A study conducted in the Nineties indicated that the socalled Golden Triangle between Antwerp and Brussels - the area situated between the A12 and E19 motorways and the Scheldt-Brussels sea canal - was an ideal location for an inland terminal,” Hiel recalls. “ECT took up the challenge, initially with a local partner, and set up TCT Belgium.” TCT stands for Trimodal Container Terminal, but effectively it is a barge terminal. Hiel: “In order to realise the recent expansion we even dismantled the third modality, the railway line, although we’re keeping the option open of constructing a new track for transport further into the hinterland in the future. For the links to the sea ports barges are perfectly sufficient.”
Foresight ECT showed great foresight in setting up its own inland terminals (the company now operates three: in Duisburg, Venlo and Willebroek). Congestion issues mean that those parties able to offer their clients an optimum hinterland service will dominate future growth. “The inland terminal concept has been a success from the start. TCT Belgium has registered annual growth of between six and 25 percent right from when it first set up in 2000. In 2007 the terminal handled 109,000 TEU and in May we expect the 600,000th TEU since the terminal was founded. That could well coincide with the festive opening of our latest expansion on May 29, in the
TCT Belgium 10 hectare 29 staff
2 mobile cranes 5 reach stackers
Connections > Daily inland barge to Rotterdam > Three times daily to Antwerp (with smaller inland vessels) > Weekly to Zeebrugge (shortsea)
presence of clients and dignitaries,” Hiel says, laughing. As a result of the expansion TCT Belgium has boosted its operational site from 6,5 hectares to 10 hectares and ramped up capacity to 180,000 TEU – 200,000 TEU per year.
French Connection From the inland terminal, TCT Belgium trucks the containers by road to and from the distribution centres of companies that mostly lie within a 35 kilometer radius. A growing number of containers are also bound for France, as far as Paris. “Understandable,” says Hiel of this French connection. “This way you avoid various points of congestion.” And there’s more. “With inland barges we now also serve the Cargovil Container Terminal in Grimbergen and the Container Terminal Avelgem (two other inland locations in Belgium, ed.). This enables us to bundle even more cargoes and so increase even further the reliability and frequency of the links with the sea ports. Another favourable trend is that traditional road transporters are also increasingly opting to deliver and pick up containers here. They reason that they have better uses for their trucks than snarling them up in traffic jams.”
Tailor-made The dream location is not the only secret of TCT Belgium’s success. “What we do is take the logistics problems out of the client’s hands,” explains Hiel. “That’s our core business: service made to measure. We ensure that the container from the sea port arrives on time at our terminal and report that back to the client. Subsequently we make sure that the container is delivered to the client on demand, and that the empties are taken away. On demand - so only if the client so desires - we also serve a storage function. But if a company prefers to pick-up its own container, that’s fine too. On average a truck never spends longer than twenty minutes at our terminal. And of course, for export containers the same procedure applies in reverse.” TCT Belgium’s well-oiled operation is due in part to the combination of efficient handling in the sea port, the deployment of reliable road transport companies (Vegetra, Lamberts) and a flexible barge operator (Danser) with a large fleet, which enables the rapid resolution of unforeseen glitches. Hiel: “Yes, it all runs very smoothly, but there’s hardly a day that isn’t hectic. We are positioned right at the end of the transport chain, so the buck stops with us. There’s always some problem screaming to be solved. But at the same time that’s what’s nice about it, because it requires us to come up with creative solutions.” Hiel is more than satisfied with the state of relations with parent company ECT. “We can rely on them to train our staff and we have access to all their know-how. Of course we are primarily concerned that they handle our barges fast and efficiently. ECT, in turn, sets strict requirements for our information systems so that they are compatible with theirs via electronic data interchange. In terms of information exchange, too, we’re expected to be a role model.”
TCT Belgium spreads its Wings 17
Evergreen lives up to Name ‘Heavy Weather Avoidance’
Ever Superb Capacity Length Width Service speed Crew
7024 TEU 300 m 42.8 m 25.3 knots 18
Captain Ma-li Chen has used his many years at sea for an in-depth study into the behaviour of weather. “I especially focused on researching the 500 millibar upper-level weather chart. This has proven key to making longerranging surface forecasts, up to five days ahead.” All of Ma-li Chen’s research recently resulted in the publication of a book, written with co-author Lee Chesnau. ‘Heavy Weather Avoidance’ teaches commercial mariners and recreational cruisers to determine the optimum sailing route using the 500 millibar charts, thus avoiding potentially hazardous weather instead of running from it.
grey-water tanks with a capacity of 236 m3 as well. This allows the vessel to stay in port for twenty days without needing to discard waste water and such.
More and more container shipping companies are explicitly incorporating environmental care in their operational management. An outstanding example of this is Evergreen. The Taiwanese company’s new S-type vessels are equipped with numerous ingenious ‘green’ features. Captain Ma-li Chen of the Ever Superb shows us around. Evergreen vessels always stand out in a crowd; their brightgreen colour makes them highly recognizable. Nowadays, the green in addition emphatically symbolizes the environment-friendly approach pursued by the shipping company. Aboard the Ever Superb, moored at the Delta Dedicated West Terminal, captain Ma-li Chen with great enthusiasm explains the many ‘green’ facets of his vessel, one of the ten new S-type vessels with which Evergreen wants to clearly distinguish itself from the competition. Like no other, Ma-li Chen knows what he is talking about. Already at sea since 1977, he has been a captain for 23 years. As one of Evergreen’s 18
most experienced masters, he often has the honour of taking receipt of new vessels at the shipyard and taking them on their maiden voyage to bring to the surface any ‘teething troubles’. “This is already my second S-type vessel.”
Low Sulphur Fuel and Electric Shore Power The S-type vessels are built in accordance with the latest technological innovations and boast many ingenious, environment-friendly features. For example, the hull and propeller are designed in such an energy-efficient manner that higher speeds can be combined with a lower fuel
consumption. In addition, the Ever Superb and her sister ships have been fitted with engines that are fully suitable for the usage of low sulphur fuel. This means sulphur (SOx) emission levels can be substantially reduced. Also striking aboard the Ever Superb is the presence of a mega-sized electrical socket and fist-thick cable, enabling the vessel to switch to electric shore power when in port. The own generators can consequently be switched off, also preventing a lot of emission. At present, Los Angeles is the only port geared to this method of working, says Captain Ma-li Chen. But this will without a doubt change in the future.
Extra Large Holding Tanks The Ever Superb in addition has a high capacity oil-water separator, reducing the oil content of waste water below 15 parts per million (ppm) and extra-large holding tanks for oil sludge, bilge water and sewage. “We need not worry about a shortage of storage capacity.” All materials are of course handed in en route, in one of the many ports of call in Europe or Asia. The tariffs for this are quit reasonable, thinks the captain. “Oil sludge is warmly welcomed as it can be reused again as fuel.” The Ever Superb has separate
“We also have a large-capacity incinerator aboard.” Where incinerators on board of regular ships reach temperatures of 300 - 400˚C, the one aboard the Ever Superb goes up to 850˚C. This for example makes the device suitable for burning plastic garbage. “Even so, Evergreen still insists that all plastic garbage be discharged on shore to avoid the emission of poisonous dioxins.” And another environment-friendly addition: through the usage of tin-free anti-fouling coatings on the new S-type vessels, damage to marine life is prevented.
Prepared for the Worst In the unhoped-for event that the Ever Superb or one of the other S-type vessels suffers damage: the ships have a doubleskin hull - not mandatory in the container sectors at the time of design of the S-type vessels - so that the chance of fuel leakage is reduced to a minimum. What’s more, the fuel oil tanks are additionally protected through their location in the ship’s interior. This constitutes an extra safeguard against spills. Along the same lines, electric deck machinery has been opted for instead of traditional hydraulic systems. In conclusion, an airspace stern tube sealing system prevents lubricant oil leakages from the stern tube. The last of the ten S-type vessels - The Ever Salute - was taken into commission in January of 2008. Evergreen has by now received worldwide recognition for its initiative, among other things in the form of the Lloyd’s Register Environmental Protection Notation and the equivalent Environmental Safety Notation of the American Bureau of Shipping. 19
The Time-critical European Distribution of Samsung
Bad News should travel Fast Seven years ago, Korean electronics giant Samsung established a European Distribution Centre in Tilburg, some 100 kilometres from the ECT Delta Terminal at Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte. Each year, 15,000 TEUs are moved from here to Tilburg via three modes of transport, within four days at the most. “Visibility is key to us.”
When the large European electronics retailer Mediamarkt distributes its brochures announcing that for example Samsung printers will be on special the following week, the containers carrying these printers are still somewhere on a ship on the open seas, bound for Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte. Division director Maurits Matthijsse of Samsung Electronics Europe Logistics: “This gives an idea of just how time-critical our operations are. According to the internal Samsung standard, we have a maximum of four days - which by the way will soon be reduced even further - after the Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) of the seagoing vessel to get the containers with printers to our European Distribution Centre in Tilburg. Often on the same day, the printers are moved to shops all over Europe. This makes clear how nervous various parties in the chain can get if a delay occurs somewhere. But also just how important the exchange of data is between all parties involved to make sure that we receive our containers on time. Bad news should travel fast; one can only fix something if one knows about it.” Seven years ago, Samsung established a European Distribution Centre for displays, printers, aircos and optical disc drives in Tilburg (a medium-sized town in the south of the Netherlands). Each year, 15,000 TEUs of maritime containers arrive there; 90 percent of them are discharged at ECT. Inbound logistics manager Bart Kuunders of Samsung: “We receive 30 percent of these volumes by truck, 20 percent by train and 50 percent by barge. Of 20
course, we always prefer to use cost-effective and environment-friendly barges and trains, but based on customer orders we decide which containers have priority and still need to be moved by truck. Trucks can also make up for any delays encountered at sea.”
Logistics Experts For the various steps in the inbound chain between sea-going vessel and distribution centre Samsung deploys several logistics experts. DHL Global Forwarding bears responsibility for the coordination of this inbound transport. The physical transport is carried out by BTT, the rail and barge terminal of Tilburg. BTT takes care of the trucking to and from the Maasvlakte, plies the same route with five barges a day (maximum 32 TEU per vessel because of locks) and handles the transport from the inland terminal to the distribution centre (10 km). Furthermore, a rail shuttle leaves each day from Rotterdam to BTT. Another division of DHL focuses on the warehousing at the distribution centre. All these parties have to communicate with one another as well as with ECT and the shipping line. It is essential that this goes smoothly. Matthijsse: “Primarily, we are busy with further streamlining the lines to our direct partners DHL Global Forwarding and BTT, preferably through EDI. Far too often, things are now still done manually, which means unnecessary double work. But there are also contacts with ECT to come to data exchange through EDI and we want the same for the shipping lines. ECT is now publishing all the Expected Times of Arrival (ETA) of sea-going vessels on
Maurits Matthijsse (l) and Bart Kuunders: “As soon as a ship moors at the Maasvlakte, the counter starts running here in Tilburg.”
their website. What could be better than this information immediately appearing in our system and the systems of our subcontractors via EDI? Because this is information everyone needs and wants to know.”
Counter “As soon as a ship from one of our production countries in the Far East moors at the Maasvlakte, the counter starts running here in Tilburg,” says Kuunders. “We have four days. Ideally, the containers arrive at our distribution centre just-in-time at a moment that is favourable to us - so not in the evening or during weekends - and the unpacking crew is ready and waiting. In the low season (January - August) about 30 containers a day are involved, in the high season as many as 130. The first obstacle in terms of planning is that there is often a substantial discrepancy between the ETA and ATA of a ship. A second obstacle is that shipping lines do not give us insight into their stowage programmes. This means we can never make an estimate of how long it takes before all our containers are on the quay. In terms of transport by truck, this is less of an issue. As soon as a container has been discharged, it can immediately be taken away. When using a
barge, we however need to wait until all the containers have been unloaded as they all have to be moved by the same vessel. In practice, this means we can only plan barge transport from the Actual Time of Departure (ATD) of the sea-going vessel. This way, we know for sure that all the containers are available. As you can see, time is unnecessarily lost here. Obviously, we would be highly interested in a shipping line that sails on time and makes available information on the stowage programme.” Matthijsse: “The moment ECT puts the container on the barge, our box appears on our radar again via BTT. This visibility means that we have regained control of the process. Visibility is key to us. The positive thing is that all parties are becoming more and more aware of just how important the provision of information is. As far as we are concerned, this could have happened somewhat sooner though. We however really notice that companies such as ECT look beyond their own task, that they want to and are in fact starting to take responsibility for the functioning of the entire chain. This is quite smart as well, because the way for logistic service providers to strengthen their competitive position is by listening to and communicating with the shippers.” 21
NAME AKO HIRAOKA COMES FROM YOKOHAMA, JAPAN PROFESSION GENERAL MANAGER OF “K” LINE EUROPE LTD. SINCE LATE 2004 AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF “K” LINE NEDERLAND BV LIVES IN THE QUIET SUBURB OF CAPELLE A/D IJSSEL
The global character of the container sector brings many foreign shipping company representatives to Rotterdam. How do they experience living and working here?
Voigt & Co has been operating as an independent shipbroker in Rotterdam port for the last one and a half centuries now. But according to Voigt’s managing director Albert Hoek it’s particularly in the last couple of decades that the sector has seen rapid change. “A spider only reacts once something flies into its web, but today’s shipbroker has sprung into action long before then.”
What does today’s shipbroker do? “More than ever,” replies Albert Hoek, managing director of Voigt & Co, the Rotterdam shipping agency that recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. “Traditionally a broker is an intermediary in ship’s capacity that also acts on behalf of the principals - the shipping lines - in dealing with all the issues a ship’s captain encounters in the port. The last 30 years however the profession has seen major changes. Whereas there used to be 120 independent shipbrokers in Rotterdam port, now that number has shrunk to just ten or fifteen.” Consolidation and economies of scale are the driving factors for this. Voigt & Co nowadays also forms part of the larger Broekman Group, but according to Hoek this has not affected the company’s independence. Hoek: “The so-called Chinese walls within the shipbroking sector are fully operative. A broker works for more than one principal at a time and these clients have to be absolutely sure that their corporate data is handled with the utmost discretion.”
Local Market Know-how In order to get a better grip on the market and their finances, many shipping lines in the Eighties and Nineties set up their own agencies. These days, however, the trend is towards joint ventures 22
with independent shipbrokers. Hoek: “For example, we have a joint venture with CSAV from Chile. We also have a long-standing relationship with Yang Ming from Taiwan. Whereas we used to undertake their entire agency, now we function as back office.” The key reason for such joint ventures is the growing importance of the local market know-how an independent shipbroker has to offer, believes Hoek. “But it’s not only that, take Voigt & Co: we’ve managed to survive for 150 years and that’s only because we go that extra mile to satisfy our clients. In terms of service we’re just that little bit more attentive: after all, we could be laid off.” The focus on knowledge of the local market doesn’t prevent Voigt & Co form acquiring clients from around the globe. Hoek: “In 1999 we identified the Taiwanese shipping line Wan Hai as having the potential to sail to European destinations, even though at that point they were only operating on intra-Asian routes. That resulted in an agency in 2003.”
Information Management Particularly in the container sector, the shipbroker’s task increasingly involves the management of information. Every
change to the agreed planning has to be handled proactively and fast. Hoek: “And there are always changes, no matter how minor. In order to be able to deal with them effectively, you need to have local market know-how. For it involves coming up with solutions that are optimally suited to the shipping line but which also deploy the possibilities the terminal offers. That requires a great deal of prior knowledge and therefore a very good network of contacts. And that’s what we have, for example with ECT’s pre-planning department, where the links go back 35 years. Both sides know what they can do for one another and can look each other straight in the eye. Preliminary preparations are a must. Rotterdam often acts as the first port of call, which means that a vessel of 8000 TEU can suddenly come and offload 2000 containers on the quay. And that’s when you have to be standing ready, that’s when inland transporters and the other cargo interested parties have to know what’s happening. In the old days the shipbroker was often described as a spider at the centre of the web - the centre point of all activity. But a spider only reacts when something flies into its web, today’s shipbroker has sprung into action long before then.”
The Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier My favourite spot in Rotterdam The Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier in the Nieuwe Waterweg canal. This most impressive of structures protects the Rotterdam region against floods. The Dutch have a love-hate relationship with water. With a quarter of the country below sea level, their expertise in the field of water management is unrivalled in the world. The Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier perfectly symbolises this. The main difference between Rotterdam and my hometown Both Rotterdam and my place of residence Capelle have water everywhere. Although Yokohama is on the sea, it is also surrounded by mountains. With 3.6 million inhabitants, it is also much busier than the Rotterdam region. Favourite neighbourhood The old centre of Schiedam, a small city next to Rotterdam. Best restaurant For western-style food De Harmonie on the Westersingel. Genuine Japanse food is served by restaurant Sapporo on the Jacques Dutihlweg.
Favourite bar The coffee bar of the Health Club Kralingen where I work out each evening.
I have never encountered discrimination here. In addition, people here are very rational and logical.
Must-see or must-do in Rotterdam The Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, a boat tour with the Spido and a visit to the Rotterdam port and the container terminals at the Maasvlakte. The port is as big as the four major ports in Tokyo bay combined.
Hard to get used to (Laughing:) Many restaurant menus are only in Dutch. This used to be difficult, but I can manage now.
Favourite sporting event Watching Feyenoord play soccer. Too bad my fellow-countryman Shinji Ono no longer plays for them.
My ‘secret’ tip The excellent and reasonably priced wines of wine house Jan van Breda on the Westerkade. Japanese friends and relations regularly want to know where I get my delicious wines. I always used to say it’s a secret. But now everybody knows.
Best golf course Golf club Broekpolder is the best in town. Golf club Comstrijen is also worthwhile.
What I miss in Rotterdam The mountain views of Japan.
Typically Rotterdams Rotterdammers are very generous and open-minded. 23
LINK IN THE LOGISTICS CHAIN Kees Gielbert, Netherlands, captain of the Smit Elbe, one of the fifteen harbour tugs of SMIT Harbour Towage at Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte.
“Safety. That is our responsibility in the transport chain. Making sure that ships get to and from the quay without any problems. We however do somewhat expose ourselves to danger as we come very close under the ship. We must always remain alert. The Smit Elbe is a small miracle of technology: a hypermodern, highly manoeuvrable 65 ton bollard pull ASD tugboat, extremely suitable for pulling and slowing down vessels. Our fleet of harbour tugs is rapidly modernizing; shipping lines deploy larger and larger vessels and prefer to use as few tugs as possible. This makes demands on our capacity. Especially container ships are drastically growing in size. In addition, these kinds of vessels are highly wind-sensitive and have relatively low draughts. In our line of work, there are no standard situations, also not at the ECT Delta Terminal. For an 8000-TEU vessel, for example, circumstances dictate whether the captain (on the compulsory
advice of the pilot by the way) uses one or two tugs. Is the vessel bound for the Amazonehaven or the Europahaven? Does she need to turn? How much wind is there and from which direction is it blowing? Does the ship need to be ‘parked’ between other ships moored alongside the quay? Can the bow thruster of the container vessel offer an adequate contribution? And are there perhaps any
‘Safety, that is our responsibility in the transport chain’ ore carriers and/or bunker vessels which limit the room for manoeuvring? Yes, you always need to stay alert, especially in the case of inland vessels with captains who are unfamiliar with the port. We sail this vessel with a crew of three. Engineer Cees, seaman Leen and I blindly trust one another, but also feel free to correct each another. We are truly a team.”
Published on Feb 6, 2012