MSc assignment TEUbooker: matching container transport within the port of Rotterdam

Introduction

The Maasvlakte II terminals are getting on stream. This results in more scattered volume of cargo in the port area. Feeders used for picking up transshipment containers will not be able to call various deepsea terminals at a costs efficient manner. This leads to a weakening of the transshipment proposition of the Port of Rotterdam compared to Antwerp, Felixstowe and German ports. The internal road lane (Container Exchange Route, CER) will not be operational before Q2-2018.

Due to the absence of an internal container exchange route (CER), all transshipment containers that need to be shunted between terminals (estimated >250.000 per year) will have to be moved by trucks on public roads or by train. This will lead to increased congestion at terminal gates as well as additional pressure on the existing infrastructure. Moreover it will add to more emissions and unforeseen costs for clients of the Port of Rotterdam. Next to that, the current booking process for both transshipment containers and hinterland containers is not transparent, efficient, and time consuming. Ultimately this could lead to loss of volume to competing (transshipment) ports.

Challenge

The challenge is to create a cost efficient, easy to use, high volume, and structural solution for the exchange of transshipment containers between MV II terminals internally, and between MVII terminals and the short-sea terminals in the WEH area. The main issues to solve are non-optimal planning and the employment of unused capacity/slots.

Solution

The proposed solution is to provide a water based inter-terminal exchange route with real-time matching of demand and supply. The key principles of this concept are:

  • Everyone can book container exchanges, everywhere and all the time (24/7)
  • Smart algorithms and planning minimizes the impact on normal itineraries
  • A digital, neutral booking and distribution channel
  • Real-time matching of supply and demand based on existing, unused, capacity
  • Reduction Carbon Footprint
  • Cost effective, easy to use, and flexible

Goal of this project

The main goal of this project proposal is to solve planning and capacity problems in the Port of Rotterdam related to transshipment containers between terminals on the Maasvlakte internally and between Maasvlakte and Waal-Eemhaven terminals.

Research

  • Smart planning algorithms to minimize impact on current processes
  • Model for dynamic use of existing capacity
  • Model to perform within custom rules and paperless transport
  • Dynamic pricing model
  • Most efficient transport payment control model
  • Competitive model to improve transshipment proposition for the Port of Rotterdam compared to competing ports

TOPICS

The research consists of two themes, a combination of these themes is also possible within the MSc assignment.

Theme 1

  • Description: Research on algorithms that will ensure minimal impact in sailing itineraries based on terminals calls, call sizes, traffic in port etc.
  • Work: Collect key figures & schedules, desk research, development, and testing of algorithms
  • Expected results/deliverables/milestones: Smart algorithms to be used in planning Port of Rotterdam.
  • Research question: How to design appropriate algorithms for the real-time matching of demand and supply. To be concrete: how to match unused capacity of barges already in the port with the required movements of containers within the port. A prerequisite for this matching is to plan the transshipments as efficiently as possible (minimum detours and time window violations).

Theme 2

  • Description: Research on dynamic pricing models (e.g. used in air & hotel industry) to boost bookings and how this can be applied in the TEUbooker Port system.
  • Work: Desk research and development of pricing models than incentifies usage.
  • Expected results/deliverables/milestones: dynamic pricing models for TEUbooker in Port Operations.
  • Research question: Dynamic pricing within the container logistics is fairly new. How are we going to do this? This could be on the basis of occupancy rating in combination with the upcoming departure with slots are still available. On the other hand, it could also be by predicting what the most populair sailings are, so prices can be raised because prices, in these situations, are much more inelastic. How are we going to do this with operator who are not ready yet to share their realtime data? TEUbooker has become a ‘grab-the-container-game’. How can we price this dynamically? From supply and demand point of view is TEUbooker the man in the middle and with cleaver supply and demand pricing, it can create big leverage.

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