How the Port of Rotterdam will become the smartest

posted by Steven Jan van Hengel
16 August 2019

As one of the world’s leading ports, which also has the ambition to be the smartest port, Rotterdam is taking the lead in the digital transformation of ports and logistics chains.

The port wants to create a global network of smart connected ports. This will increase efficiency, lower costs and reduce CO2 emissions. 

Seamless customer journey

The port of Rotterdam is committed to creating a seamless customer journey in global container logistics. The digitisation of logistics chains plays a key role in this. In the Port Authority’s vision, this takes place step-by-step. Starting with the port itself and its own port community, with the hinterland being included in the digitisation later. Then it is a matter of connecting ports all over the world. These steps are currently being taken, and the port of Rotterdam is taking the lead.

 Connected Ports

The digital strategy of the port of Rotterdam revolves around transparency and the sharing of information. In this respect, the logistics sector has some catching-up to do. For example, if you order a $19 pizza, you know exactly when the onions go on, when the pizza is put into the oven, and when the delivery boy gets on his delivery scooter to deliver the pizza to your home.

Isn't it strange that a container, which is much more valuable and is sent around the world, disappears into a black hole after it departs? In Rotterdam, we think this shouldn’t be possible in this day and age. That is why various applications are being developed in the port of Rotterdam and they are working to connect a network of ports across the world. As well as efficiency and cost benefits, this results in CO2 emission reductions, bringing sustainability and digitisation together in a smart way.

PortForward for Shippers and Forwarders

As well as applications being developed to digitise port processes, the port of Rotterdam’s PortForward portfolio also contains tools for shippers and freight forwarders. Navigate and Boxinsider are examples of digital solutions developed especially to support shippers and freight forwarders in digitising their logistics processes and increasing insight into these. Navigate offers shippers and forwarders a complete overview of the most efficient deep sea, short sea, rail and inland shipping connections via Rotterdam. The solution is currently also available in the ports of Sohar and Gdańsk. It’s a fantastic example of how Rotterdam can connect and support other ports.

Boxinsider helps shippers, freight forwarders and transporters to better plan, monitor and manage their activities by providing reliable and accurate information on vessel and container events. Users are offered direct access to the information they need via a dashboard or API (application programming interface) link. Boxinsider combines data from various sources in the chain. This includes container data, sea and inland terminal status information, and information about the seagoing vessel. Updates are provided to the user via push messages, enabling them to actively monitor their cargo flows.

☛ Steven Jan van Hengel is Senior Business Manager of Shippers & Forwarders at the Port of Rotterdam

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