The Port of Rotterdam is always on the lookout for smart solutions to allow logistic processes around the port to run as smoothly as possible. 'Truck platooning', where columns of automated trucks travel closely together, could well be such a smart solution. The European Truck Platooning Challenge is being organised in order to develop this method further and to bring it to people's attention. It will be concluded in Rotterdam on 6 April.
The columns of trucks will depart from a number of European cities and head for the Netherlands, with the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam being the final destination on 6 April. During the first half of 2016, the Netherlands is holding the presidency of the European Union, an important moment in which to bring truck platooning to people's attention, according to Bob Dodemont, project manager of smart mobility at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. "We need each other in Europe and it is important to reach satisfactory agreements about who is going to do what and how we can provide mutual support", says Dodemont. "That is why the meeting of European Transport Ministers on 14 April regarding smart mobility will, of course, be an important moment to give the political community a position and a role."
According to Dodemont, strong international cooperation is particularly necessary for the realisation of truck platooning. “The Challenge is a perfect opportunity and a first test to demonstrate successful European cooperation. A springboard for the further implementation of truck platooning", says Dodemont. "The Port of Rotterdam Authority has been involved for some time in a cooperative venture with a number of parties, including TNO, DAF Trucks, TNL (Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics) and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, regarding the developments in truck platooning. In this way we can excel as a world-class port and justify our slogan: 'Make it happen'."
The fact that the trucks travel so closely together means that there are a number of advantages for port users, according to Dodemont. "For example, fuel efficiency. But there are also societal benefits. Truck platooning can, for example, make a positive contribution to all kinds of interests in the fields of sustainability, environment and more efficient use of the capacity of the infrastructure." According to Dodemont, the way in which this occurs is consistent with the mentality in the port city. "Learning by doing: that applies to us too. Or in other words, it's the traditional Rotterdam mentality. Once you've scored a success, the rest should follow automatically."
Source: EU Truck Platooning