Frank Van Den Berg, Managing Director of Icontainers, has questioned whether the Port of Antwerp’s NxtPort conception can actually work, despite providing a vision to unite disparate industry entities.
NxtPort is a new data platform and mega database containing details of the thousands of containers that pass through the Port of Antwerp on a daily basis.
The new conception aims to slash trucking time, increase port efficiency and sever logistical costs.
Van Den Berg states: “What the Port of Antwerp is trying to do is cut down the unnecessary transportation of empty containers.
“By sharing container data, the empty, recently-unloaded container can go directly to the next customer who needs to load a container in Brussels without having to journey back to the depot at the port.
“That’s the ideal situation and what Antwerp Port hopes to achieve with NxtPort.”
However, while Van Den Berg states NxtPort is “the perfect idea” it does have flaws.
Van Den Berg continues: First off, it’s quite difficult to input this data in the system correctly. Shipping carriers normally already have their own plans and typically always work with the same truckers. But freight forwarders function differently. They don’t always use the same truckers. And that’s where the difficulties come in.
“Additionally, a recent survey shows that just 12% of maritime leaders are using big data… Reasons for not delving into the pool of big data include, lack of access, need for more skilled professionals and more training of current employees.
“Yes, it’s good to know where containers are. But how efficient can this system be? Perhaps it would be a better idea to solve the underlying issues at hand before launching more big data systems.”