Optimising inland container shipping chain

Container throughput is the driver behind the Port of Rotterdam’s growth. For hinterland transport, inland container shipping plays an indispensable role in the chain that has ambitions for growth. Together we are aiming for optimal inland container shipping for all parties.

Inland container shipping growth ambitions

In 2017 the throughput of containers in the Port of Rotterdam increased by 10.9%, to 13.7 million TEU. The hinterland volume via road, rail and inland shipping grew by 6% to 8.8 million TEU in 2017. In the first half of 2018, container throughput in Rotterdam increased by a further 5.9%. Inland shipping currently has a 40% share in the transportation of containers between Maasvlakte in Rotterdam and the hinterland. The Port Authority aims to increase the share of inland container shipping to 45% by 2030.

North West Central Corridor

Download the infographic and read how cooperation by bundling cargo leads to a sustainable and reliable inland shipping product

Port Authority vision on inland container shipping

In recent years, developments at global level have had a significant impact on container chains. The increased scale and consolidation in shipping have resulted in larger peaks in volumes and demand for both sea and land-based handling. Coordination between chain parties has also become more complex as planning and implementation of transport for clients take place within relatively short time periods. This places container terminals under increased pressure to handle the volumes, which also creates peaks in incoming and outgoing inland container shipping. This results in increased pressure on handling inland container shipping in Rotterdam.

In order to be better able to handle the peaks and pressures in the chain, involved parties cooperated in designing a more transparent and efficient inland container shipping chain. To respond to the new reality, all chain players (shippers, shipping companies, freight forwarders, barge operators, inland terminals, deep-sea terminals and depots) need to work in partnerships, need to be able to adapt and be able to rely on each other. At the Port Authority’s initiative, all players in the container chain meet in the Sector Consultation. The parties in the chain work together to develop a set of solutions that contribute to the efficient and reliable transportation of containers by inland shipping to, from and in Rotterdam.

Barge Performance Monitor

Rotterdam is working with its partners on reliable and efficient connections between the port and destinations in the hinterland. For inland container ships sailing from or to the port of Rotterdam, we have developed the Barge Performance Monitor.

Solution approaches

Various solution approaches were suggested in the Sector Consultation to further optimise the inland container shipping chain:
1. Bundling of containers on the corridors and in the port to increase inland vessel call sizes at the deep-sea terminals:
• At Maasvlakte and in the Waal-Eemhaven via e.g. fixed windows and direct inland shipping services at the deep-sea terminals.
• In the hinterland via the West-Brabant Corridor, the Duisburg Corridor and the Alblassderdam transferium.
2. Cooperation between deep-sea terminals and inland shipping operators via bilateral agreements about handling times for vessels with large call sizes and a direct connection at the terminal
3. Implementation of Nextlogic. Nextlogic provides an integrated and neutral scheduling that enables all containers to be handled on time and at the correct quay, in which all vessels stay within their rotation time. Chain parties use the information platform to share up-to-date information on rotations, calls, containers and available quay capacity. The Brain planning tool then uses these data to develop a feasible schedule.
4. Use of overflow hubs in the port for better absorption of peaks, better volume distribution and to respond in a time-independent way to changes in the chain. And all this for the lowest possible costs that are shared collectively.
5. Exchange of information between parties in the chain through better use of the existing system, through sharing information earlier and in time and by making crucial data available to third parties. This takes place in consultation with PortBase.
6. Formulating guidelines for shippers, freight forwarders and parties in the chain to give insight into the container chain and make suggestions for even better use of inland container shipping.
7. Measuring chain performance to monitor improvements in the chain in the same way for everyone via a KPI dashboard.

The container chain continues to change, which is why we want to work with parties on continued chain improvement. Together, we are aiming for the most reliable container chain in which shippers and freight forwarders make more structural use of inland container shipping to and from the Port of Rotterdam.

West-Brabant Corridor

The increase in chain reliability through cooperation in the corridor

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