At the recent Container Terminal Automation Conference (CTAC2018) DP World and QLess presented their solution for dealing with the Port of Antwerp’s heavy truck congestion issues.
Co-founder and CEO of QLess, Alex Backer and Head of Optimization at DP World Marc Laureys took to the stage for a joint presentation to highlight the benefits that the Port of Antwerp reaped from the two companies collaborating.
Speaking first, Marc Laureys explained that due to volume increases and continued organic growth, the port decided to consolidate its operations to the left bank – combining previous cargo from the right bank with current volumes.
This initiative caused extreme truck congestion throughout the port, focused in the roads leading to the yard.
The congestion, according to Laureys, had severe knock-on effects to environment and staff well-being – including increased CO2 emissions and staff stress levels.
However, one of the largest issues was the impact of the port of Antwerp’s reputations – many Belgian newspapers ran stories highlighting the long wait times for trucks.
Read the “Terminal Technology: Trimming Truck Turn Times” technical paper for further reading on optimizing truck operations
Speaking at the introduction of the session, Alex Backer highlighted the real impact of a negative reputation – with losses in customers and revenue through negative customer reviews on online platforms such as Google and Yelp.
DP World, therefore, sought help from software company QLess, who offer an alternative queueing system to reduce wait times.
The process change that was brought in provided visibility on all trucks in the port, from those in the yard and those currently waiting for pick up – allowing the port to plan the truck flow better to reduce congestion.
As trucks arrive they are entered into a virtual queue for their specific exchange area and given an estimated wait time.
When the trucks are ready to enter the yard they are notified either through a smart device (with availability for texts or alerts through a dedicated app), or on one of the call up boards present in the ports administration building.
Since the introduction of this system, the Port of Antwerp has eliminated the truck congestion issues and reduced overall wait times – along with lowered CO2 emissions, a 20% increase on container handling and, perhaps most importantly, a large increase in customer satisfaction.