Digital port data exchange trial reduces Rotterdam idle time by 30%

A recent trial of the PortXchange digital platform at APM Terminals Rotterdam has demonstrated a significant reduction in the average idle time on departure of Maersk vessels as a result of using electronic data exchange for port call information, according to the Port of Rotterdam.

A baseline measurement among 177 ships in September 2019 established that, on average, vessels wait 47 minutes before leaving the quay after cargo handling at the terminal has been rounded off. By January 2020, by using the digital data exchange system to improve stakeholder information sharing, the average idle time on departure had decreased to 32 minutes.

Participants in the trial included Maersk, ship agent Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), towing services Svitzer and Fairplay, and the local pilots of Loodswezen. The Port of Rotterdam Authority used the digital platform to coordinate the exchange of plans and real-time status updates between all of the parties.

Once the terminal operator has enough data to accurately predict when cargo handling will be rounded off, it can then contact the agent to order nautical services, and nautical service providers can be notified well in advance how late they are expected at the terminal.

Updating all parties in the chain allows everyone’s plans to be adapted to increase efficiency – for example, a tug can choose to serve another vessel first, or to take more time travelling to the terminal and save fuel.

The collaborating parties involved in the trial have announced that they will continue to use the system in the future based on the results so far, and have urged other parties in the sector to join the platform.

“Ships need to be able to efficiently depart from the facility after cargo handling. We need to minimise the time between when a vessel orders nautical services and its actual departure. We can all take optimal advantage of the available resources to this end,” said Anne Geelhoed, business consultant at the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

“We can use the data in PortXchange to determine which calls are delayed, and why. If bunkering is scheduled too closely to the departure time, you can jointly anticipate what comes next. Can bunkering be moved forward, or should we ask the nautical service providers to come by later?”

“In addition to the nautical service providers, we are already working together with surveyors, water-based service providers like waste and wastewater collection services, and suppliers on shore.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

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