Following a successful trial using the port call optimisation tool PortXchange, container shipping company Ocean Network Express (ONE) will continue to use this digital platform in the future to make its port calls to the port of Rotterdam as efficient as possible.
PortXchange, a development of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, enables shipping companies to monitor, analyse and optimise their container ships arriving and departing from sea ports. ONE conducted a two-month trial of the tool in 2019.
Insight and transparency
‘The Port of Rotterdam Authority came to our office in London to present PortXchange,’ says Keith Bamber, Port Operations Manager at ONE in London, where vessel planning for Europe takes place. ‘We were impressed by the broad application and the large amount of information that this tool offers as it could provide us with more transparency than we had in the past. That is why we decided to conduct a trial. The better we can manage our vessels in the port of Rotterdam, the more accurate our planning and the more reliable our sailing schedules.’
ONE has some 350 calls per year to Rotterdam, which means that around one ONE vessel per day calls to the port of Rotterdam. It is important for the shipping company that the vessels arrive in Rotterdam just-in-time. It costs a lot of money to anchor a vessel because, for example, there is no space in the terminal yet to receive the ship. Bamber: ‘It is difficult to manage this efficiently, but thanks to our good contacts with ECT in Rotterdam, this already went very smoothly during the week. Across the weekend, we often had insufficient information to enable us to respond adequately to changes in the schedule. Now we automatically receive a message about changes via PortXchange. Our operators can therefore contact the terminal directly on Saturdays and Sundays to check whether the information is correct and adjust the arrival time. If a vessel is already en route to Rotterdam, we will request the captain to adjust the speed. This saves fuel costs and is good for the environment.’
During the trial, the Port of Rotterdam Authority modified the PortXchange user interface on several points at ONE’s request. ‘We wanted a timeline with the real-time sailing speed, but also the required sailing speed for timely mooring at the terminal. Thanks to the good cooperation between the Port Authority’s PortXchange team and the ONE operators in London and Rotterdam, this request could be granted quickly. The ONE vessel planners initially had to get used to PortXchange and gain confidence that the information the tool offers corresponds to reality. Once that step was taken, they quickly reaped the benefits of working with PortXchange. ‘They can now manage their schedules much better and plan further ahead. Captains can adjust sailing speeds more flexibly.’
More information desired
ONE will continue using PortXchange in the port of Rotterdam following the pilot and would also like to use the tool in other main European ports, including London Gateway and the southern Spanish port of Algeciras. Bamber believes that this would further increase efficiency. Approximately twelve people are currently working with the system at the ONE offices in London and Rotterdam. ‘A nice, user-friendly solution’, Bamber summarises. ‘What we would also like to see in PortXchange is information about the tides. When loaded, our vessels from Asia have a draft of up to 16 meters. Even in very deep ports like Rotterdam, we remain dependent on the water levels. Information about this in PortXchange would be a useful addition.’