Where digitalisation is concerned, many people think of seaport terminals, but this has long been becoming more important in the hinterland. The container terminals in Osnabrück (CTOS) and Nuremberg (TriCon) demonstrate how much IT is already in use in inland terminals.
Hazardous goods, semi-trailers and swap bodies, unlike standard load carriers, still have to be checked manually. ‘Here, our employees verify whether the load carrier is also suitable for transshipment,’ he added. OCR will also be used for trains in the future. In connection with the expansion of the first module, a corresponding gate is to be set up in the port of Nuremberg.
Some persuasion required
Another milestone was the introduction of a multilingual driver app in spring of this year, since which drivers have been able to register contactlessly at the gate using a booking code. The OCR data is then sent to the Terminal Operating System (TOS), and the driver automatically receives information regarding the slot they must drive to to collect the container. ‘At the moment, however, the level of usage is only about 10 per cent,’ Schreyer explained regretfully. ‘Some drivers shy away from data entry, others prefer to have the social contact.’ An update that allows haulage companies to perform the data entry for the driver should now help to improve the rate, he added.
Mandatory slot booking, as has already been the procedure at the large Eurogate and HHLA container terminals for several years, is not yet part of the app, but will be necessary in the future. ‘With this kind of slot management, we can equalise processing and increase planning reliability for everyone, as well as significantly speed up our processes and increase our efficiency,’ explained Schreyer.
However, since this is quite demanding, TriCon has taken the lead of a consortium of project partners that includes the IT companies Cargo Support Service and Conroo, the Institute for Maritime Logistics (MLS), the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) and the German Promotion Centre for Intermodal Transport (SGKV; Studiengesellschaft für den Kombinierten Verkehr). By 2025, the three-year ‘Flexiking’ project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) as part of IHATEC II (Innovative Port Technologies), will develop an smart multi-agent system for the collaborative coordination of time slots.
Digitalisation also plays a major role at the Container Terminal Osnabrück (CTOS), which only went into operation at the beginning of 2022. Linking the TOS with the Gate Operating System (GOS) plays a key part here, too. In the future, all trucks in Osnabrück will be recognised automatically by means of an OCR system and the data will be transmitted to the TOS. The gates required for this have already been set up, but are not yet in operation. ‘The recognition quality is currently far below the prescribed 95-96 per cent,’ explained Managing Director Björn Tiemann. ‘This needs to be improved for us to use it properly in our business operations.’