Port Authority, Van Gelder and Wavin make port of Rotterdam smarter

8 December 2020
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When it comes to smart infrastructure, innovations for the sewer system are not generally the first thing to spring to mind, but heavy rainfall and climate change call for future-proof solutions. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is working with Van Gelder civil engineers and Wavin, suppliers of construction and infrastructure solutions, on the development of data-driven road gullies. The ‘Tegra road gully’ is made out of 100% recycled material and can be fully reused (circular). This will make the port of Rotterdam both a little smarter and more sustainable.

Trial of data-driven street gullies

The Port of Rotterdam Authority was seeking a way of being able to estimate more accurately when the port’s road gullies, of which there are more than 13,000, would be full. Gullies allow rainwater to flow down into the public sewer but catch sand, sludge, waste and leaves. Although as a rule road gullies are cleaned once a year, this is not always necessary. Wavin’s pilot scheme, which uses smart road gullies, aims to demonstrate how in future it will be possible to carry out maintenance only when really necessary.

Wavin, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Van Gelder have signed a pilot agreement to fit 16 road gullies with innovative digital sensors that will show how much space there is in each gully. Cleaning will take place when the sensor signals the need for it; i.e. maintenance will be based on data. It is the first time that a trial of this kind is being conducted in Europe. Over the course of twelve months, the trial will provide a clear answer as to whether the system is operationally, economically and technically feasible.

Monique Domsdorf, Head of Asset Management at the Port Authority: ‘The trial is in line with the Port Authority’s policy of making the port more efficient through digitisation. This applies not only to our ship admission policy, autonomous shipping and the provision of cargo data, it is also in line with our pursuit of data-driven maintenance. For example, waste containers in the port area are also fitted with sensors.’
Leendert Ripping, Company Director at Van Gelder: ‘We are responsible for the general maintenance of infrastructure and lighting in the port. It is also our job to boost the port’s innovative power, and safety, sustainability and measurability are key considerations.’

Marcel Jongedijk, Global Director Open Innovation & Partnerships at Wavin: ‘The demand for solutions of this kind is increasing. We are proud to have realised this pilot in Rotterdam and we can see numerous opportunities to apply the same type of smart technology more widely.’