Page 1

FAST FORWARD winter 2009



Interview Jan Westerhoud Shore Tension Revolutionary Invention IKEA operates its own Distribution

By inland barge to Venlo


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 three deep-sea terminals here: the ECT Delta Terminal and the Euromax Terminal (with the CKYH Alliance) on the Maasvlakte peninsula, close to the North Sea, and the ECT City Terminal in the Eemhaven 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 2008, ECT handled 6.3 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 operator with interests in 49 ports, spanning 25 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia. HPH also owns a


number of transportation-related service companies. In 2008, the HPH Group handled a combined throughput of 67.6 million TEU worldwide. No rights can be derived from this publication.

14-15 P.O. Box 7385, 3000 HJ Rotterdam, the Netherlands T +31 (0) 181 278 278 E  | W



‘Quality Product and Optimal Service’ ECT President Jan Westerhoud is adamant he won’t change tack even though the current economic ­climate is proving extremely tough for the container industry. On the contrary: “In these tough times the price-quality ratio has become increasingly important.”

Made in Rotterdam! The constantly growing size of container vessels poses new challenges when it comes to safely securing them alongside the quay. Royal Boatmen’s Association Eendracht has come up with a revolutionary invention that is as brilliant as it is simple: the Shore Tension.

IKEA operates its own Distribution In the past year, approximately 660 million consumers worldwide visited one of the 301 home furnishing stores of IKEA. Their purchases generated a turnover of 22.7 billion euros. Christos Labropoulos and Remco Lagendaal explain how IKEA has organised its European transport and distribution.

winter 2009


Good News in Tough Times TCT Venlo Truly Trimodal With the long-anticipated opening of the inland barge terminal, TCT Venlo will truly be trimodal as of early 2010. TCT Venlo’s terminal manager Peter Verschoor and ECT’s general manager business development Paul Ham explain the added value of this new addition to the inland hub on the Dutch German border which has already been successfully operating for more than 25 years.

4-6 7 10

News Straight to Stockholm Supporting an Uninterrupted Container Flow


Solving the ECT Delta Stack Puzzle


Shorter Lead Times Thanks to Premium Service


Smooth Exports


My Rotterdam


Link in the Logistics Chain

The current economic crisis notably differs from previous periods of decline in at least one respect: despite all the problems that the container industry is facing, companies are not diminishing their pursuit of sustainability. The time that the business community used ‘green’ as a convenient cloak which would immediately be discarded in times of adversity is clearly behind us. So none of that during this crisis. To my joy, I see initiatives to promote a clean environment throughout the entire logistics chain. Of course, it is not unimportant that this way of working yields cost benefits as well. The bottom line however is that both the customers and the logistics chain itself are increasingly adopting sustainability as a prerequisite for doing business with one another. As a prominent hub in the logistics chain and a leading terminal operator, we as ECT have already been working for a long time to make our operations more sustainable in many different ways. This starts with the fact that we are the second largest organizer of collective employee transport in the Netherlands, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. More than a thousand of our people use our company buses for their daily commute. By leaving their car at home, they reduce the pressure on the road network and offer a significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 and particulate matter emissions. Similar ambitions can be found at our terminals as well. ‘Green’ electricity may be new to other terminal operators, but it has already been standard practice at ECT for years. Ongoing initiatives aimed at sustainability range from reducing paper usage (see news item page 6, ed.) to making our major equipment more eco-friendly. As a greenfield investment, the Euromax Terminal indubitably has an exemplary function. At our new terminal, we as much as possible use ‘green’ electricity instead of diesel-powered equipment. Furthermore, a signi­ ficant noise reduction has been achieved in the design of the quay cranes and because the operations are automated, much less light is needed than at a conventional terminal. In addition, we are constantly on the lookout for further improvements such as improved hybrid technology and the possible use of hydrogen or LNG as a clean alternative fuel. Last but certainly not least, we offer our customers an increasingly expanding intermodal hinterland network. Through our Extended Gate concept, we explicitly aim to transport thick flows of containers to the hinterland by rail or inland barge. It is not until there that trucks are used for more local distribution. In this way, the Extended Gates can substantially help to reduce the carbon footprint of container transport. The fact that ‘green’ is increasingly becoming more embedded in the logistics sector is good news in these tough times in which everyone focuses on the short term. By at the same time also considering the long term, our industry will in many respects be more durable than ever before. We are more than happy to offer our contribution to such a sustainable future.

Jan Westerhoud President of ECT



Photo DeCeTe

DeCeTe Example in Logistics Chain

With Christmas just around the corner, the German branch of DHL seized national ‘Logistics Day’ in early October to demonstrate to relations, staff and media how the logistics chain works; the DeCeTe inland terminal in Duisburg featured prominently in this demonstration. DeCeTe is a partner of the global forwarder from the moment a container is unloaded from a deep-sea vessel in Rotterdam until the moment the box arrives at the DHL warehouse in Duisburg Logport. The chosen mode of transport in the demonstration was inland shipping; accompanied by a perfect information flow, an import container loaded with books from the British publisher Parragon was moved by inland barge over the river Rhine and reliably delivered to DeCeTe. After one of the DeCeTe cranes had lifted the container from the hold, a truck in no time took the box right up to DHL’s doorstep for further distribution.

Unifeeder launches CO2 Calculator On its website, shortsea and feeder operator Unifeeder has launched a CO2 calculator verified by Det Norske Veritas. By entering a few details, users can see by how much they can cut their carbon emissions by incorporating sea transport into a particular logistics chain rather than opting for direct trucking on the same route. In Rotterdam Unifeeder is one of ECT’s major feeder clients, with regular sailings to Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Russia.

Betuwe Express to Germany now also from Euromax The daily rail shuttle connection of ECT and railway operator Kombiverkehr between the ECT Delta Terminal and the DeCeTe inland terminal in Duisburg, Germany, will from now on also call at the Euromax Terminal twice a week. Paul Ham, general manager business development of ECT: “With the extension of the Betuwe Express to the Euromax, we are anticipating the needs of companies which discharge and load their containers at our new deep-sea terminal. The direct connection allows us to offer them an optimal service.” The Betuwe Express provides shipping lines, forwarders and shippers with a fast connection to the

Containers can be booked onto the Betuwe Express via the inland terminal DeCeTe on telephone number +49 (0)203 80 90 6-23, e-mail You can also use the central desk of ECT’s European Gateway Services: telephone +31 (0)181 27 83 08, e-mail

Rotterdam Rules 21 countries have already signed the Rotterdam Rules. This new UN convention, which was introduced in September 2009, defines the rights and obligations of parties involved in the maritime transport of cargo. Major maritime countries like the United States, Greece, Norway and the Netherlands are among the signatories. The Rotterdam Rules bring more clarity as regards responsibilities and liabilities in the field of maritime transport and replace the Hague Rules (1924), the Hague Visby Rules (1968) and the Hamburg Rules (1978). Developments such as container transport and electronic data exchange had made these treaties out-of-date. As a result of this, legal gaps emerged and every judge had to reinvent the wheel. National or regional legislation however is not efficient in terms of global maritime shipping. With the new treaty, maritime rules are once again internationally in line with one another. More information:


heart of the Ruhr area, Germany’s main economic centre. The rail service is supplementary to the dedicated inland barge shuttle which goes back and forth between ECT’s deep-sea terminals at the Maasvlakte and DeCeTe in Duisburg.


First INTEGRITY Container Successfully Shipped As part of the European INTEGRITY project, the first test containers have been successfully shipped between China and the Netherlands. The first box left on the 21st of September from a warehouse in Skehou, after which it was loaded aboard a deepsea vessel bound for ECT in Rotterdam in the Chinese port of Yantian. From ECT, the container next arrived at the nearby warehouse of DHL on the 16th of October. The SICIS - Shared Intermodal Container Information System - IT platform made this trip fully transparent for the participants. The CSD (Container Security Device) e-seal which was attached to the container, played a key role in this. Through the development of SICIS, the INTEGRITY project aspires to create ­global door-to-door supply chain visibility. As a result, logistics chains become more predictable while at the same time boosting security levels. SICIS will be a global logistics platform in which all logistics players can easily participate. ECT is one of the participants in the pilot in which a total of 5000 containers are electronically monitored on their trip from China to their European destination.

Rio in Rotterdam Shipping line Hamburg Süd is currently phasing six big new deep-sea vessels into use on the route between Europe and South America’s east coast. In Rotterdam these Rio class vessels are customers at the ECT City Terminal. The new ships have a length of 286 metres and are 40 metres wide. The vessels have a container capacity of 5900 TEU of which no less than 1365 reefer plugs - a key factor given the huge flows of fresh produce from the southern hemisphere to Europe. In Europe, Rotterdam forms the Rio vessels first port of call.

Also see the feature in Fast Forward no. 45

Lean and Green Award Together with nine other companies, Truck Load Match Rotterdam has won the Lean and Green Award 2009. The firms received the Award for their active efforts to make the logistics chain more sustainable. Truck Load Match Rotterdam is a grouping of five major road transporters. Using the automated planning system PARIS, they aim to exchange trips as much as possible, so reducing the number of journeys by empty trucks by 30 percent. ECT is licence holder of PARIS in the Netherlands.

logistics and the Nature and Environment Foundation. The aim of the programme is to boost corporate profitability and at the same to cut carbon emissions by more than 20 percent. The execution is being carried out by the public-private network organisation Connekt. More information on and

The Lean and Green Award forms part of the Sustainable Logistics programme, a Dutch government initiative together with sector organisations in transport and 5


Get rid of that Paper!

Even More Trains for Euromax Not only the Betuwe Express (see page 4), but also the Cologne - Düsseldorf Express will from now on directly call at the Euromax Terminal. This train of Neska Intermodal already maintained a daily ­connection to the Maasvlakte from Cologne (CTS terminal) and Düsseldorf (DCH terminal) in the German Ruhr area, but will now go on to the Euromax Terminal from the ECT Delta Terminal as well.

Web makes Release of Import Containers Easy

Not so long ago ECT routinely drew up a paper dossier for each incoming train, inland barge, feeder or deep-sea vessel. Every month that resulted in cabinets full of files. But that is all due to change. Operations manager Jan Molenaar (photo) of ECT’s Gate & Administration Desk explains: “We’ve started with the introduction of the Electronic Travel Dossier. Using this we also keep detailed records, but only digitally.” The ECT Delta Terminal is already archiving train arrivals using the new method. Molenaar: “We’re also busy with the inland shipping calls and after that the feeders and deep-sea vessels will follow.” The operations manager says that in the past, the Gate & Administration Desk at the ECT Delta Terminal alone used 50 boxes of paper a week. A simple calculation shows that ECT will shortly be using 6.5 million fewer sheets of paper a year.


Shipping lines, forwarders and transport companies can from now on easily deregister all sorts of import containers with Customs through the service Import Documentation on the website of ECT. Thanks to the agreements between ECT and Customs, the containers are then automatically ­customs-released in the terminal system. This method was already in use for several years for transit containers with an MRN document (MRN = Movement Reference Number) but now also applies to direct imports (IM4), containers which reside under the DIN/DEN arrangement (notification domproc) and intra-Community transactions. Deregistering a box via the website allows a driver to directly collect a container, without further interference from Customs and without additional paperwork. Only for transit containers must Customs still scan the barcode of the MRN (IE28) when exiting the terminal. This rule however does not apply to so-called Authorised Consignors; their MRN documents (IE29) are also automatically exempted. Furthermore, the website offers a track & trace function which allows users to easily see whether a customs document has ­actually been linked to a container. The web service Import Documentation is available to all relations of ECT who have proper authorisation to the secure part of the ECT website. More information is available via the Gate & Administration Desk, ­telephone +31 (0)181 27 85 04. See also the feature on Customs on the back cover of this magazine.

Straight to Stockholm New weekly feeder services by ­respectively Team Lines (photo left) and Unifeeder (photo right) are for the first time directly connecting the ECT ­terminals in Rotterdam with Stockholm on the east coast of Sweden. The new connections serve as further proof that the port of Rotterdam is increasingly becoming more attractive as a feeder hub for the ­so-called ScanBaltic (Scandinavia, Baltic States, Russia) area. Key arguments in favour of the ECT terminals are their direct situation on the North Sea and the fact that even the largest deep-sea container vessels have unlimited access. For many scheduled services from the Far East, Rotterdam is consequently the first port of call in Europe and thus a logical

location for transhipment. Last but not least, feedering from Rotterdam to the ScanBaltic region offers demonstrable advantages in terms of transit times and costs. In the Swedish capital Stockholm, the feeder services of Team Lines and Unifeeder both call at Container Terminal Frihafen (CTF). Like ECT, CTF is a part of Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH). ECT’s feeder specialist Florian Vreeburg therefore views the connections as a potential first step in the development of a network similar to the one created by ECT through its inland terminals. In this concept, thick cargo flows are moved to the hinterland as soon as they have been

discharged from the deep-sea vessel. “The same principle can of course be applied on the sea side as well.” Vreeburg is glad that more and more ScanBaltic-bound feeder operators and feeder services are choosing Rotterdam as their basis. “It is more or less a chicken-and-the-egg story. More cargo attracts more operators and vice versa. It is up to us as ECT to consistently provide them with a sound and reliable feeder product. With the dedicated Delta Barge Feeder Terminal and, from next year onwards the extra possibilities at the Euromax Terminal, we will definitely be more than capable of doing this.”


ECT’s Ongoing Goal

‘Quality Product and Optimal Service’ “We are continuing to invest unabated in a quality product with optimal services provision.” ECT President Jan Westerhoud is adamant he won’t change tack even though the current economic climate is proving extremely tough for the container industry. On the contrary: “In these tough times the price-quality ratio has become increasingly important.” In its bid to further boost its services provision ECT is looking at the entire logistics chain, from deep-sea terminal to the hinterland. “The frequency and reliability of our inland connections are also a key factor.”

Guest Lecture for Youngsters

With only a few weeks to go to the end of the year, Jan Westerhoud is in a position to offer an initial assessment of 2009. “The entire container sector is experiencing heavy weather. Rotterdam however has lost less freight than neighbouring ports. For us that’s a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy picture. However, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from that, either for the short or the long term. There are too many conflicting factors.” One thing the ECT President does know for sure: 2010 will also turn out to be a very difficult year. “Based in part on the indications we’re getting from the market, I think we’re only going to see a marginal rise in container volumes. Our customers are still experiencing extreme difficulties. With that, the competition between ports is hotting up more and more. The price-quality ratio has become more important than ever. That’s why we at ECT will continue to invest in optimal services provision.”

Reliability and Frequency are Key Alongside his considerable daily duties, ECT president Jan Westerhoud still tries where possible to also make time for activities on the side. “Shortly, I’ll be giving a guest lecture at a school in Rotterdam for preparatory secondary ­vocational education, to around 150 pupils aged 14 to 16. I think it’s important to be able to tell youngsters something about what we do, and to kindle their enthusiasm for the Rotterdam port. Many of them probably won’t ever have seen a container terminal up close. My friends and colleagues have already warned me: those kids are going to ask some really hard questions.”


In its services offering ECT is focused on providing an ­optimal product from the North Sea right through to the hinterland and vice versa. This starts on the sea side where ECT’s ­terminals - in contrast to those at surrounding ports - are accessible at all times for fully-laden ships, including the world’s ­biggest container vessels. It’s a major plus point in view of the ongoing trend in the sector for ever greater economies of scale, even in the current crisis. Westerhoud: “Thanks to our broadly-based efforts to improve services, performance at our terminals has increased steadily. I’m the first to say however, we can always do better. It’s essential that we keep working on that, together with our customers.

“Thanks to our broadly-based efforts to improve services, ­performance at our terminals has increased steadily.”

In terms of European inland transpor­tation, we’ve realised that frequent and reliable connections are key, also - or particularly - in these difficult times. We’ve therefore invested extra in this, for example with the Betuwe Express to Germany.” (See news item on page 4.)

“From the bottom of my heart I’m proud of the 2250 people who together make up ECT’s calling card every single day” Difficult Dilemma Even so, the container sector has literally been turned upside down over the last year. Capacity shortages have turned into overcapacity, both on the terminals and for shipping lines. Westerhoud characterises it as a difficult to manage, complex process. “I think that it will take at least four to five years before container volumes recover to precrisis levels,” he says. It has resulted in a complex balancing act, he notes. The challenge is to keep one’s gaze focused on the future while at the same time doing everything possible to tackle the current difficult situation. The construction of Maasvlakte 2, Rotterdam’s new port area in the North Sea, is a good example of the dilemmas being raised. “In view of future developments, Maasvlakte 2 is an absolute necessity for the port. And of course I realise that

there will never be a perfect moment for it to come into operation - you’re always too early or too late. But in my opinion, as one of the businesses already operating in the port, I think I’m entitled to express my grave concern about the overcapacity Maasvlakte 2 will create in the short term. In just one year’s time we’ve seen the world change radically. It seems to me only logical that you adapt your strategy in line with those changes. That’s what we’ve done at ECT in any case.”

2010 Euromax In terms of capacity, it has been established that phase 1 of the Euromax Terminal will come on line during the course of 2010. The new deep-sea terminal of ECT and the CKYH Alliance (Cosco, “K” Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin) was extensively tested and subjected to practice runs in 2009. Westerhoud: “In recent months we’ve made steady progress in the ­cooperation between people, equipment and IT-systems. Next year phase 1 will become fully operational. That means 1500 metres of quay with a draught in berth of 16.65 metres, twelve deep-sea cranes and four barge/feeder cranes.”

ECT’s Calling Card Westerhoud works long hours, in these challenging times more than ever. “Your responsibilities go on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I couldn’t get by without my Blackberry. At the same time ECT is organised in such a way that everyone knows what they have to do. In these times of economic crisis that’s really crucial. From the bottom of my heart I’m proud of the 2250 people who together make up ECT’s calling card every single day.” 9

ECT’s Customs Services:

Supporting an Uninterrupted Container Flow As part of the Extended Gate concept, ECT offers carriers and merchants two customs services aimed at further facilitating the smooth flow of containers from the deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam to the hinterland. Various customers have already discovered the added value of these services.

In the Extended Gate concept, containers are moved to the hinterland in thick flows by train or inland ship either immediately after they have been discharged at the deepsea container terminals in Rotterdam or just-in-time. “As part of this concept, we offer customers two customs facilities: the ‘Paperless Service’ and, as a derivative of this, the ‘Release Service’,” says Paul Zoeter, business consultant with ECT. As already implied by the name, the ‘Paperless Service’ facilitates a document-free transport between ECT’s deep-sea terminals and the participating inland terminals. Zoeter: “We as ECT see to it that in Rotterdam, the container is checked out from the Sagitta Entry system (SBB) of Customs, the customs release takes place at the deep-sea terminal and the box is transported to the relevant hinterland ­terminal. The latter takes place under our customs license and responsibility.” It is not until the customs release at the inland terminal that the customer becomes responsible for the container. There, the additional customs documents - albeit for transit, storage in a bonded warehouse or import can be arranged.

Participating Extended Gates ECT has developed a separate EDI connection with Customs for the ‘Paperless Service’. The service is currently in use at the three Extended Gates that ECT has in the Netherlands: TCT Venlo, directly on the German border in the southeast of the Netherlands, CCT Moerdijk in the southwest of the country and CTVrede - Steinweg plus ACT in Amsterdam in the north. Zoeter: “We are working on the introduction of the ‘Paperless Service’ at our inland terminals of TCT Belgium in Willebroek and DeCeTE in Duisburg, Germany, as well.”

‘Release Service’ As a derivative of the ‘Paperless Service’, ECT also offers the ‘Release Service’. Zoeter: “Here, we see to it that the container is checked out from Customs’ SBB system and that the ­customs release takes place at the deep-sea terminal in Rotterdam. The advantage for customers is that all these actions are carried out by the same party and that they do not need to deploy own manpower for this or invest in supporting systems. All the customer has to do is contact us via e-mail or EDI to give us the order.” Next, the cargo is transported to the hinterland under the customs license of the customer (a so-called domproc license). A possible 10

additional benefit of this may be that the cargo can be directly moved from the inland terminal to the warehouse of the customer under the same customs regime. It is not until there that the additional customs documents for transit or import need to be drawn up.

Much Interest Several forwarders and shipping lines are already using the ‘Paperless Service’ and/or the ‘Release Service’. Zoeter emphasises that ECT’s sole purpose is to make sure that containers can flow to the hinterland as smoothly as possible. “It is in everyone’s interest that congestion in the port is prevented and that cargo is always available in the hinterland in the most efficient and reliable manner possible.”

More Information For more information on the Paperless Service and/or Release Service, please contact ECT’s European Gateway Services, telephone +31 (0) 181 27 83 08, e-mail

New Barge Terminal TCT Venlo starts 1st of February 2010 The container crane of the new TCT Venlo barge terminal towers high above its surroundings. As of the 1st of February 2010, the first commercial inland barges will be mooring underneath it. Until that time, all efforts will be geared to ­completing the terminal and intensively testing the crane.

The container crane at TCT Venlo’s new barge terminal is 35 metres high and has a hoisting height of 26 metres. The outreach on both the waterside and the landside is 24 metres. This makes the crane, which was ­constructed by Hans Künz in Austria, suitable for efficiently handling both the barges and the trucks which pick up and deliver the containers on the landside. The maximum lifting capacity of the crane is 41 tonnes; the colossus itself weighs in at 420 tonnes.

High and Low The terminal on which the crane is located has a quay wall with a length of 155 metres. In terms of construction, the highly fluctuating water levels of the river Maas have explicitly been taken into consideration. The river Maas is a rain-fed river, which means water levels can easily drop seven to eight metres below the quay in dry times. In the wet season, water levels can however quickly rise again. The

site of the new barge terminal has therefore been slightly raised, cancelling out the risk of flooding. The sailing time between Rotterdam and the ­terminal is fourteen to eighteen hours and barges can stack the containers three-high on this route.

Two Men suffice The new barge facilities will be an integral part of the existing TCT Venlo inland terminal. Two people is all it takes to operate the new terminal: one on the crane and one for supporting activities with the reach stacker. Truck drivers who deliver or collect containers first take care of their administrative formalities at the rail terminal of TCT Venlo just down the road. Next, they proceed to the barge terminal. After the truck driver has identified himself here at the gate by means of his Cargo Card, the crane operator can see the exact purpose of this visit from his cabin and carry out the appropriate actions. The barge

terminal, which meets all the ISPS security standards, has liberal opening hours: Monday to Friday from 07.00 to 23.00 hours. Initially, the handling capacity of the barge terminal will be 50,000 containers a year. This can however be further expanded in the future. Additional services are offered by, amongst others, logistics company Seacon, which operates a warehouse directly next to the barge terminal.

En Route to the 1st of February 2010 In December 2009, the final touches will be added to the construction of the crane. In January 2010, the crane will then be extensively tested and staff will be trained and familiarised with the operating procedures. The type of crane is completely new to TCT Venlo, where reach stackers are commonly used at the rail terminal. If all goes according to plan, then the first commercial barges will be handled as of the 1st of February 2010.


TCT Venlo Truly Trimodal With the long-anticipated opening of the inland barge terminal, TCT Venlo will truly be trimodal as of early 2010. TCT Venlo’s terminal manager Peter Verschoor and ECT’s general manager business development Paul Ham explain the added value of this new addition to the inland hub on the Dutch - German border which has already been successfully operating for more than 25 years.

“The new inland barge terminal gives TCT Venlo the opportunity to offer customers additional and complementary services.” Peter Verschoor and Paul Ham can hardly wait to get started with this. Situated directly on the German border, TCT Venlo has already been ECT’s inland hub in the southeast of the Netherlands for more than 25 years now. Every day, four rail shuttles drive back and forth between Venlo and ECT’s deep-sea terminals at Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte directly on the North Sea, a good three hours’ drive. From early 2010, customers will be able to take advantage of the possibilities which inland shipping has to offer as well. Verschoor and Ham: “The inland barge terminal really involves new business. For example, the new scheduled inland barge service which we will initiate from TCT Venlo will not just call at the Maasvlakte, but also at the city area of Rotterdam where both our ECT City Terminal and Rotterdam Shortsea Terminals (RST) are located. TCT Venlo’s rail product is less appealing to that part of the port. Inland shipping will soon constitute an outstanding alternative though. The plan is to start with three sailings a week. Depending on cargo volumes, we can further expand this frequency.” One of the new opportunities in respect to the city port area is the transport of fresh produce. The Rotterdam city ports are the European landing point for large quantities of fruits from overseas. Part of this needs to be moved on to Venlo, where a major fruit and vegetable cluster is located which also supplies Germany. Traditionally, the fresh flows between 12

Rotterdam and Venlo have almost exclusively been moved by truck. The fresh logistics sector however is busily experi­ menting with inland navigation and TCT Venlo can play an important role in that. “Our inland terminal is less than 1.5 kilometres from the auction complex in Venlo. Using our own container terminal tractors, we can quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively deliver containers there.”

Anticipating Demand The new inland barge terminal of TCT Venlo offers many other possibilities as well. Verschoor and Ham use the requirements and wishes of the market as their starting point for this. A scheduled inland barge connection to Antwerp, for example, is one of the options. Verschoor and Ham: “We can facilitate every request from the business community.” Of course, the Extended Gate concept of TCT Venlo (see ­features pages 10 and 18 - 19) will also be implemented at the inland barge terminal. In this concept, containers are moved to the inland terminal immediately after their arrival at the seaport. The cargo owner can leave everything up to ECT; the transport between the seaport and the inland ­terminal takes place under the responsibility and customs license of the terminal operator. It is not until the inland terminal that the customer assumes responsibility of the container again. There, he can take care of the additional customs formalities.

Paul Ham (l) and Peter Verschoor: “Inland shipping will soon constitute an outstanding alternative.”

Easy repositioning of Empties “The inland barge terminal also makes the repositioning of empty containers much easier,” continue Verschoor and Ham. “Regardless of whether they need to go to Rotterdam, other ports or elsewhere in the hinterland. Many empty depots are situated on the water and are harder to reach by train. Inland shipping offers much more flexibility in that respect.”

facility. Management and operations will divide their attention between the two and there is one single IT-system.” Transporters who come to deliver or pick up inland barge containers first need to complete their administrative ­formalities at the do-it-yourself desk at the rail terminal. Next, they can proceed to the inland barge terminal which is located not even five minutes down the road.

Reliable Product Both carriers and merchants will be able to benefit from the new inland facilities. Last but certainly not least, the inland terminal also constitutes a plus for the Venlo region in general. The fact that one of the key logistics hotspots of the Netherlands was not connected by means of inland shipping was definitely a great deficiency. The local authorities are therefore very positive. And, more importantly, Verschoor and Ham have observed that companies in the region are highly interested in the new inland barge product. “For companies that are currently using trucks, there is a lot of potential. Like the train, the inland barge is ideal for avoiding road congestion and in addition is environmentally friendly. For more and more companies, ‘green’ is becoming an important selection criterion.”

The service area of TCT Venlo is substantial, explain Verschoor and Ham. The customer base stretches out far into the easterly located Ruhr area, Germany’s leading economic centre. In a southerly direction, the new A73 motorway has a positive effect. “Many customers are attracted by the guaranteed high-frequency rail connections with the port of Rotterdam. Every six to eight hours, a new train arrives in Venlo, and, barring unforeseen circumstances, always on time too. In the current economic climate, we have maintained the frequency of our rail connections. That reliability is clearly appreciated. With the inland barge terminal, we are once again adding a new dimension to the already wide range of products which are available here.”

One Single Facility The rail terminal and inland terminal in Venlo will be ­situated about 1.5 kilometres apart. Verschoor and Ham: “We will however operate the two terminals as one single 13

Shore Tension keeps Ships Firmly Anchored to Quay

Made in Rotterdam! The constantly growing size of container vessels poses new challenges when it comes to safely securing them alongside the quay. Royal Boatmen’s Association Eendracht has come up with a revolutionary invention that is as brilliant as it is simple: the Shore Tension. This cylindrical device ensures that a vessel remains firmly anchored to the quay while at the same time conserving a lot of energy and curbing CO2 emissions. The Shore Tension holds clear advantages in terms of ECT’s service provision to shipping lines.

The ‘official’ stamps of approval for certification by Lloyds are fresh in from London. After an initial prototype, the Royal Boatmen’s Association Eendracht can now actually make a start with the production of their own invention: the Shore Tension. Mat Slotboom and Ger van der Burg, respectively chairman and board member of the Rotterdambased boatmen’s association, expect the first four devices to be available in early 2010. The Shore Tension makes it possible to keep constant pressure on hawsers which have been fastened to bollards on the quay. “And without ­consuming hardly any electricity,” emphasise the two rowersforemen. Electricity is only needed for a few minutes to put the right amount of pressure on the hawser. After that, the cylinder of the Shore Tension hydraulically adjusts to the forces which it is being exposed to. For an unlimited period of time, and without further energy consumption. “Now, container vessels use tension winches on deck to keep pressure on their hawsers. These consume megawatts of electricity at each port call, resulting in significant costs as well as high levels of CO2 emissions. Moreover, these deck winches always have a slight degree of slack; the tension never remains completely constant. Under the influence of strong winds and passing ships, vessels moored along the quay consequently always slightly move, both horizontally and vertically. The Shore Tension prevents this.”


See the Shore Tension in Action Go to to see for yourself how the Shore Tension works.

Massive Forces With container vessels becoming larger and larger, the Shore Tension will only become more useful. The Ultra Large Container Carriers of today and tomorrow can easily measure 360 metres in length and, depending on the number of containers on deck, at least 30 to 50 metres in height. In strong winds, these lateral surfaces are exposed to massive forces which may ultimately lead to the hawsers snapping. Slotboom and Van der Burg: “And if one hawser goes, they all go. A lot of hawsers does not automatically mean that a ship will stay safely moored alongside the quay. A good example is the iron ore carrier Berge Stahl, which was secured to the shore with 42 hawsers (!) in a Brazilian port but still broke from her moorings. Important in this respect is that the hawsers are all under the same constant pressure and that one hawser does not have more slack than the other.”

At the Request of the Harbour Master In Rotterdam, a ship turned adrift in the port two years ago, causing substantial economic and environmental damage. In the wake of this, the Harbour Master of Rotterdam asked the boatmen to think about a solution to prevent such ­incidents in the future. “Through trial and error, we came up with this solution. Like the invention of the paperclip, it ultimately proved to be surprisingly simple. Everyone at the international congress of Harbour Masters, where we recently presented the Shore Tension for the first time, fell completely silent.” The Shore Tension as it is now being

built by the boatmen together with a company specialising in hydraulics has a maximum capacity of 60 tonnes. The Lloyds certification is therefore in the category Heavy Lifting. Larger versions with an even greater maximum capacity are also possible. Four units will suffice to solidly secure any large container ship to the quay. “Now, we still only have a horizontal model for use on existing quays. The Shore Tension can however also very easily be vertically incorporated in new quay walls,” say Slotboom and Van der Burg. The Shore Tension is also innovative in other respects. The device has its own built-in warning system; using the Internet, it sends out a message if more tension capacity is required.

ECT: Better, Safer and More Continuous Operations Ron Westerhoud, supervisor of the ECT Delta Dedicated North Terminal at the Maasvlakte, has already seen the prototype of the Shore Tension in action. “It is a very compact device and as far as I could see it is easy to install on the quay. In my opinion, the main advantage as far as the operations of ECT are concerned is that a ship is really moored stably - and therefore more safely - alongside the quay. Wind or passing ships no longer cause the ship to move. As a result, our quay cranes can work better, damages are prevented and the operations can continue for a longer period of time. If the Shore Tension in addition means that shorter hawsers can be used, then this may also save quay space.” 15

Solving the ECT Delta Stack Puzzle To learn more about the workings of the automated stack at the ECT Delta Terminal it’s important to know that although on one location and mutually interconnected, the ECT Delta Dedicated North Terminal (DDN), ECT Delta Dedicated East Terminal (DDE) and ECT Delta Dedicated West Terminal (DDW) each have their own terminal system and therefore also separate physical stacks. The DDN has 34 stacking lanes with the same number of Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC’s), the DDE 47 and the DDW 56. Containers are transported between the different berths by means of Internal Terminal Transport (ITT). In principle, a shipping line is customer at one of the three terminals.

Stacking in Little Towers Every visiting deep-sea ship is allocated a specific stack range on its ‘own’ terminal. The containers the vessel has to discharge and load are positioned in these lanes. Their precise division across the allocated lanes is only done once the containers arrive at the stack itself. A truck driver, say, who comes to deliver a container for vessel X, will be directed to a landside interchange point immediate behind the stack range for that ship. There the straddle carrier picks up the container and takes it to the first stacking lane to come free in the range. Here the ASC takes the container over and rapidly works out the best place in the stacking lane to put the container so that it can easily be loaded on board the deep-sea ship by an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV). Ideally the location in the stacking lane will be as close as possible to the waterside and the containers are preferably stacked in towers all bound for the same vessel. This makes it possible to work faster and prevents unnecessary ‘digging’ deep in the stack.

Both Outgoing and Incoming The same way of working in fact applies to containers arriving via rail, by inland shipping and feeder. Albeit that 16

for the latter two modalities, the delivery takes place on the waterside. Here AGVs take care of the transport to the stack. Unfortunately inland barges and feeders can’t always secure a berth directly alongside the stack range for the deep-sea vessel. In such cases the AGVs first transport the containers to another lane and at a later stage on to the right location. In some cases the inland barge or feeder even may have discharged their containers at another berth on the peninsula, say at the DDN instead of the DDE. In such cases ECT takes care of transport on the landside to the right location by means of ITT. It goes without saying that the entire stacking process for containers coming off the deep-sea vessel works on the same principle, only in the other direction.

Advance Information Crucial “In all cases, advance information is crucial for ECT,” explain operations manager Cees Ouwerkerk of the Landside Operations Centre and Marco Meerman, head of Central Yard Management. “The more we succeed in positioning the containers in the right place in the stack straight away, the more efficiently we can work, and the better the ­performance for the customer.” As part of their assignment from terminal management, Ouwerkerk - and later Meerman too - have been working for some years already on structural improvements in the use of the stack. Their initial start was the enormous boom ECT experienced from late 2006 onwards in the number of containers. These huge container flows meant the stack was literally overflowing. “A major reason for this turned out to be the excess of empties in the stack,” says Ouwerkerk. “We drastically restructured that and where necessary we adapted the arrangements ECT had with ­customers. For the first time we started talking regularly to their equipment departments. It’s then that you see how communication helps you get a better grip on the situation. That was true for both parties.” Meerman picks up the story:

The stack at the ECT Delta Terminal processes millions of containers annually. ECT’s Cees Ouwerkerk and Marco Meerman explain how each container is allocated a place in the stack and how Central Yard Management is increasingly succeeding in promoting an optimal throughput. All in the name of good customer performance. “In this, advance information plays a crucial role.” Cees Ouwerkerk (r) and Marco Meerman: “The more we succeed in positioning the containers in the right place in the stack straight away, the more efficiently we can work, and the better the performance for the customer.”

“Each shipping line now tells us in good time how many empty containers should be loaded on a particular deep-sea vessel. Subsequently we take a look in our terminal systems at how many we have in the stack. If the number in the stack falls short, then we consult with the shipping line to get the missing empties from one of the nearby depots on time to the terminal by our ITT.”

Keeping the Stack Tidy So the days of countless empty containers in the stack are over. That accumulation of empties had a disastrous effect on ECT Delta Terminal’s customer performance. Inspired by the obvious results reaped by their efforts, Ouwerkerk and Meerman have gone on to incorporate regular import, export and transhipment containers into the process of tidying the stack as well. “It’s all about being pro-active. Nothing happens of its own accord. For example, we now start enquiries about any import containers that have been standing in the stack for longer than a week. First we ask questions in house, then we go to the customer. Often there’s a good reason for the containers still being there, but sometimes something has indeed gone wrong and our enquiries then are a first step towards solving the problem.” In short, Central Yard Management keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings. Meerman: “Every day we review the stack via our online systems. What’s more, we look ahead. For example, if there’s a deep-sea vessel on the planning that we think can best be handled at another location for a more efficient stack, then we pass that on to the responsible departments. At the end of the day it’s more beneficial for all the parties concerned if we at ECT keep the number of unnecessary moves on both the sea and the landside to the minimum required. In that way we are able to offer our customers an optimal service and performance.”


DHL Global Forwarding:

Shorter Lead Times Thanks to Premium Service DHL is an enthusiastic user of ECT’s Premium Service between the deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam and the TCT Venlo inland terminal on the Dutch-German border. The global forwarder was therefore also keen to take part in the recently launched cross-border pilot to DeCeTe in Duisburg, Germany and hopes to do the same with TCT Belgium in Willebroek.


The More Visible, the Better For DHL optimal visibility of transport flows is a major issue. For this reason the company is also an enthusiastic participant in the INTEGRITY project (see news item page 5) which aims at improving the reliability and security of worldwide supply chains. “But also on a more general level optimal information provision is crucial to us,” say Maaten and Van Wensveen. “It enables us to concentrate on exceptions and boosts our reliability for customers. Compared with other ports, Rotterdam is already quite far advanced as regards to the dissemination of ­information. ECT’s website, for example, gives a lot of relevant information about container releases and related subjects.”

TCT Venlo. “Security is at ISPS level, for example. That’s very important for our clients. In addition TCT Venlo is a neutral terminal, which means we can organise our own onward transport. And thanks to the round-the-clock opening hours we can also pick up containers at night here - something we do frequently.” Premium Service is an added extra used by DHL for specific customers. Maaten and Van Wensveen: “It has to fit with the total picture, after all it does involve added costs.” However, these costs are recouped in various ways; for example, DHL no longer needs to compile two customs documents. The containers travel on to TCT Venlo on ECT’s customs permit. “A customs document has a limited shelf life. If we, as DHL, have to draw up our own document in Rotterdam, we run the risk of having to make a new one prior to the onward journey further inland out of Venlo.”

Guaranteed Lead Times

“TCT Venlo is a neutral terminal, which means we can organise our own onward transport.”

For about a year now ECT has been offering the Premium Service product as part of its Extended Gate concept to clients who want to secure optimal inland transport to TCT Venlo. The service means that ECT takes responsibility for ensuring that containers arriving at the deep-sea terminal are immediately transported onwards by rail to the hinterland. Customs documents are not required, and what’s more, ECT guarantees the lead times. Reasons enough for Dimitri Maaten, Inland Logistics Transport Manager at DHL Global Forwarding and his colleague Johan van Wensveen, Manager Logistic Competence Center Ocean Freight, to help develop the Premium Service and to become one of its first clients. “Venlo is an important hub for us,” they explain. “Within a 50 kilometre radius, we serve both Dutch and German ­customers. Using the inland terminal makes it far easier for us to meet their classic wish for container delivery to the doorstep at eight sharp in the morning. Direct trucking from the seaport is becoming less and less attractive as an option, both with regards to reliability and environmental concerns. The more we can direct via thick transport flows to the hinterland, the better. The train has proven itself to be the most sustainable transport mode in this case and for DHL ‘Go Green’ is a major consideration.”

Premium Service Both managers say they are very satisfied with the level of services provision and the opportunities on offer at

Most important of all, say Maaten and Van Wensveen, are the guaranteed lead times the Premium Service offers. “At the point that the seagoing vessel approaches port, time suddenly becomes a major factor for our customers. Depending on the call size, the ship will spend some 12 to 48 hours alongside the quay at the deep-sea terminal. We at DHL can’t see at which point our containers are offloaded. But ECT can, and is able to take action.” For customers for whom time is crucial, DHL is therefore happy to hand over the responsibility for organising the onward transport to ECT. “Currently we give ECT a weekly planning for the Premium Service containers. ECT ensures that these containers are made available to us at TCT Venlo at the latest one day prior to the date included on the roster. If necessary we ourselves can already clear the containers through customs during the Rotterdam-Venlo journey. All in all we shorten lead times one or more days.” For DHL, the question of how ECT gets the containers from the deep-sea to the inland terminal is effectively irrelevant. Maaten and Van Wensveen welcome the fact however that TCT Venlo will very soon have its own inland shipping terminal in addition to the rail link (see features page 11-13). “That’s going to make returning empty containers to the depots a lot easier,” they note. “Unlike rail, inland shipping allows you to do it directly.” From a service point of view DHL is also happy that a number of the Venlo rail shuttles now not only call at the ECT Delta Terminal on the Maasvlakte, but also run directly to the Euromax Terminal.

Cross-border Extended Gates The global forwarder would love to apply the way of working which ECT has made possible at TCT Venlo across borders. That’s why Maaten and Van Wensveen are happy to take part in the pilot ECT has just launched for an Extended Gate and Premium Service at the inland terminal of DeCeTe Duisburg in Germany’s industrial Ruhr region. In this pilot containers cross the Dutch - German border without the need for ­customs documents. “We see a big future in this. It could create an important corridor to the German market,” the DHL managers say. “As inland logistics within DHL has an European set-up, this Extended Gate will lead to an additional ­advantage for the transport organisation of DHL Germany as well. The set-up of DHL’s European inland organisation is improving our customer service; the close cooperation of the different counties benefits mutual clients. In the case of TCT Belgium too, we’re therefore more than willing to test an Extended Gate this year.” 19

In the past year, approximately 660 million consumers worldwide visited one of the 301 home furnishing stores of IKEA. Their purchases generated a turnover of 22.7 billion euros. Impressive figures from a retail formula that has no equal. Christos Labropoulos and Remco Lagendaal explain how IKEA has organised its European transport and ­distribution. “We will not even consider a supplier who is not committed to social and environmental conditions.”

IKEA operates its IKEA’s European Distribution Centre on the outskirts of Dortmund in Germany is impossible to miss. The four large warehouse modules with a total storage capacity of close to 800,000 m3 tower high above their surroundings. This is where the heart of IKEA’s European distribution is located. Each year, far more than 10,000 containers arrive here. Christos Labropoulos, Supply Chain Transportation Area Manager explains that all IKEA home furnishing stores across Europe receive part of their stocks from Dortmund. “The goods in question are what we call the ‘low flow’: slow movers, market hall range, articles from the family

Own Production, Worldwide Sales The assortment of IKEA comprises approximately 9500 items, many of which are produced under the name Swedwood in own factories across ten different countries. Two-thirds of the production takes place in Europe. At country level, China however is the largest producer. The main market is Europe with a share of 80 percent, followed by North America with 15 percent and Asia & Australia with 5 percent. Germany is the main country of sales (16 percent), followed by the USA (11 percent) and France (10 percent). To inform consumers about their products, the group annually distributes nearly 200 million catalogues worldwide.


line, Christmas and summer items, etc. These products are always directly moved from here to the stores. As regards our regular assortment - the high flow - we have divided Europe into three regions: North, Central and South, each of which has its own regional DCs. I am responsible for all the inbound and outbound flows to and from Central Europe, which comprises the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and all the countries in Eastern Europe except Poland. In my region, our stores are supplied with the high flow assortment through nine regional DCs. Dortmund is one of them, but there for example is also one in Oosterhout, the Netherlands.”

Substantial Volumes Within the division of Labropoulos, Trade Lane Manager Remco Lagendaal is operationally responsible for all inbound and outbound European container flows. “Each day, approximately 600 containers come into Europe and some 300 go out. Not surprisingly, Asia - Europe and Europe North America are our main trade lanes. With our volume levels, we do business with virtually all of the respected shipping lines. Each shipping line has its own trades in which it excels. In terms of turnaround times, we have no special requirements although the focus is on cost ­consciousness and a stable operational service performance. Unlike electronics, for example, we have a fairly steady assortment. Our primary concern is that the goods flows are reliable and constant.”

Christos Labropoulos (r) and Remco Lagendaal: “A port is attractive to us if it has a good hinterland network with many connections.”

own Distribution Social and Environmental Responsibility Price is very important in the selection of shipping lines, say Labropoulos and Lagendaal. However, this is not the only criterion. IKEA’s vision is ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’. In everything it does, the company puts a strong emphasis on social and environmental responsibility, also in relation to its transport suppliers. “We will not even consider a supplier who is not committed to ‘green’ and social conditions and we explicitly audit them to this extent.”

Rotterdam’s Role The container flows of IKEA which run via Rotterdam mainly comprise imports, especially to the DC in Oosterhout in the south-west of the Netherlands for the supply of the Dutch home furnishing stores (approximately 4000 containers per year) and to the two DC’s and stores in Austria and Switzerland (approximately 5000 containers per year). Lagendaal: “The latter is exclusively done by rail, while the transport between Rotterdam and Oosterhout is carried out by inland vessel. The inland terminal of Oosterhout Container Centrale arranges this entire process for us.” Furthermore, a number of direct deliveries to the home furnishing stores take place from Rotterdam, not only in the Netherlands but also in the German Ruhr area. The use of rail and inland waterway for land transport is fully in line with the green perspective of IKEA. But of course,

the group cannot fully avoid the use of trucks. “All trucks must however at least meet our requirements in terms of age and emission standard,” explains Lagendaal. The Trade Lane Manager is not in detail aware to which extent Rotterdam also functions as a feeder hub to, for example, the UK and the Scan Baltic region. “That is a matter of the shipping lines; we have no demand into this.”

ECT - Dortmund A new development is the rail shuttle which was recently launched between the ECT terminals in Rotterdam and the DC in Dortmund. It is an extension of the daily Betuwe Express (see news item page 4). Lagendaal: “We now mainly serve our DC in Dortmund by rail from the North German ports. The rail connection which shipping line CMA CGM arranges from Rotterdam is small in comparison, but it does provide us with a solid alternative.”

An Attractive Port “A port is attractive to us if it has a good hinterland network with many connections,” continue Labropoulos and Lagendaal. “Operations should be free of disruptions. For example, if there are frequent industrial actions, then we could start thinking about relocating. Furthermore, we always choose ports which are as close to the final destination as possible. In this way, we keep the number of kilometres of land transport to a minimum which benefits the environmental impact as well as the cost picture.” 21

ECT stimulates Usage ECS Services Portbase

Smooth Exports

In cooperation with the Portbase Port Community System of Rotterdam, ECT is anticipating the new customs requirements which ensue from the European Export Control System (ECS). If exporters and forwarders submit a few basic pieces of information in advance through the ECS services of Portbase, the handling of export containers at the ECT terminals will only further improve, expects Jan Molenaar, Operations Manager of the Gate & Administration Desk.

Through the Export Control System (ECS), the European Union aims to strengthen its internal market and better secure its external borders. Since the 1st of July 2009, exporters and freight forwarders all across Europe have therefore only been able to ­submit electronic export declarations. Molenaar: “It is a next step towards the e-customs which is generally strived for.” In the port, Customs verify whether goods listed on an export declaration actually leave the EU. “This means that the moment a container arrives at ECT, we need to notify Customs of this through an electronic arrival at exit.” The rule will come into effect on the 31st of January 2010 and according to Molenaar, the ECS services of Portbase will facilitate this. The Port Community System of Rotterdam requests exporters and forwarders to submit five basic pieces of information through the ECS services parallel to their export declaration. Molenaar: “Many export containers we receive come in as close to the Cargo Closing Time of 24 hours prior to the arrival of the deep-sea vessel as possible. With the advance information provided by the exporter/forwarder, we can optimally prepare the call of each export container and deregister the box with Customs directly upon its arrival. If Customs decide that they 22

want to carry out an inspection, then we can anticipate this in a smart fashion, for example by not placing the container in the stack but moving it to a separate inspection area instead. All in all, the advance information submitted by the exporter/forwarder minimises the risk that a container unfortunately misses the sea-going vessel as a result of a customs ­inspection. We would therefore like to encourage everyone to make use of the ECS services of Portbase. It offers all parties involved a greater degree of certainty.”

Prevention of Mismatches The ECS services offer more advantages. Problems with paper documents will soon be a thing of the past. Molenaar: “At the moment, we regularly receive export containers accompanied by paper documents with barcodes stating the obligatory MRN (Movement Reference Number, ed.) which cannot be scanned. If this is the case, Customs refuse these documents. As a result, the container remains blocked in our terminal system and the document is returned to us. Often, we just about manage to make a readable copy of the barcode. All this to obtain permission to load as quickly as possible. After all, customers of ours are involved here. However, this entire procedure is very

time-consuming and labour-intensive and there is always a chance of mismatches. If exporters/forwarders ­electronically submit the information beforehand via the ECS services, that problem can be avoided.”

Complete Visibility Through Portbase, ECT also renders relevant feedback about the ECS ­containers to the other links in the logistics chain. This provides shipping lines for example with input for the second customs obligation which ensues from ECS in the Netherlands: the submission of an electronic customs manifest. Once Customs has received both this out­going manifest and the earlier arrival at exit, the exporter/ forwarder immediately receives a confirmation of exit which validates his export ­declaration. Molenaar: “Through the information which we send back to Portbase, exporters and forwarders can in addition exactly monitor the status of their containers in the service Track & trace ECS (part of the ECS ­services, ed). This is very useful. They can electronically follow what is ­happening in the port and, if necessary, intervene.” For more information on the ECS ­services of Portbase:

MY ROTTERDAM The global character of the container sector brings many foreign shipping company representatives to Rotterdam. How do they experience living and working here?

Rotterdam’s skyline gives the city an international flavour

My favourite spot in Rotterdam Rotterdam is a city which is beginning to develop a real skyline. That’s something you don’t see anywhere else in the Netherlands or in Belgium. It gives the city an international flavour. The main difference between Rotterdam and my hometown The Dutch and the Belgians speak the same language. That means we can understand each other perfectly well, but it doesn’t mean we always know what the other person’s getting at. There are big differences in mentality. A Rotterdammer is straightforward and direct and will immediately say what’s bothering him, whether that’s in public or not. A Belgian is more likely to have another think about things and then to take you aside for a little chat. Another big difference can be seen in our food culture. A Belgian sees eating as a form of entertainment, a Dutchman as necessary to stay alive. But I have to say that’s changing for the better. Favourite restaurant Depending on the occasion, the traditional Dutch kitchen at Kaat Mossel

Name Danny van den Bosch Lives in Antwerp, Belgium together with my wife and three children Profession Managing Director OOCL Benelux. I divide my time between our offices in Antwerp and Rotterdam, where I work two days a week.

on the Admiraliteitskade, real Chinese at Tai Wu on the Mauritsweg or trendy dining at Las Palmas on the Kop van Zuid.

that’s football-related. Professionally speaking we at OOCL have business seats at Feyenoord football club in Rotterdam.

Favourite bar or outdoor cafe With the staff at OOCL we sometimes end up at Breakaway, on the corner where our office is based in the centre of Rotterdam.

Typically Rotterdam The Netherlands - and therefore Rotterdam too - has a real meetings culture. People have to be convinced before they’ll do anything. A Belgian is more accepting, will take the attitude ‘they will have thought about this’. The one approach is no better or worse than the other, they’re just different.

Favourite shop You see the same store chains all over the world and of course in Antwerp you can buy anything you like. Even so, my children sometimes ask me to bring them back profiteroles from Bakker Bart. Must-see or must-do in Rotterdam The city’s modern architecture is interesting to see. And every summer I take my family to Blijdorp. This Rotterdam zoo is of superior quality. Favourite sports or sporting event I jog regularly myself, and through my son I’m involved with everything

Hard to get used to Well I’d have to say the road congestion and traffic jams. What’s more, you’re liable for a fine here even if you drive just a single kilometre over the speed limit. In Belgium they’re a bit more tolerant. My ‘secret’ tip Speak up just as Rotterdammers do. What’s more, you need to be honest and direct and don’t beat about the bush. They appreciate that.


Link in the Logistics Chain Henk Spiering, team leader at the Rotterdam Customs Authority on the Maasvlakte

It’s a widely held assumption that Customs is a bureaucratic monolith causing delays in the logistics chain. However, that’s certainly not true of the Rotterdam Customs Authority. For decades it has been working to facilitate container flows through the chain as smoothly as possible, with innovations in administrative processing and advanced detection systems such as the container scan and nuclear detection gates. Henk Spiering (photo left), team leader at Customs on the Maasvlakte, takes obvious pride in this achievement. “Even though I say so myself, I know for certain that the way we operate has enhanced the terminals’ competitive advantage. At ECT in particular, the administrative streamlining has been very rapid,” he says. “That holds true for both incoming and outgoing cargoes. With incoming cargoes at Rotterdam we no longer need to see every c­ontainer for administrative purposes. A growing number of ECT’s customers are using the special ECT web application for online despatch of the customs documents in which we give permission for containers to be removed. These containers are then automatically released by the terminal system and can leave immediately. Increasingly all the required customs formalities will be done in advance, so avoiding any hiccups at the ­terminal gate if something does turn out to be

wrong with a particular container. Streamlining procedures in this way results both in significantly shorter dwell times for containers on the terminal and allows us at Customs to concentrate on the containers we’ve selected for inspection in advance on the basis of the pre-arrival information provided by the shipbrokers. Those containers either go through our customs scan - with minimal delay and/or are actually unpacked.”

“I know for certain that the way we operate has enhanced the terminals’ competitive advantage” “Another of our tasks is to detect nuclear radiation. There are detection gates at all the terminals in the Rotterdam port area which sound the alarm at our central command post (main photo) if a container with radioactive radiation passes through. Such containers are not allowed to leave the ­terminal. The nature of the alarm is assessed at the command post, and where necessary an inspection team is dispatched to carry out further checks.”

ECT FastForward Issue 46  

ECT FastForward Issue 46

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you