Improving truck arrival information at north range container terminals
The share of truck transports to and from container ports still makes up 50 to 90% in the North Range (Antwerp, Bremen/Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Le Havre, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge); in spite of numerous initiatives promoting an increase in the ratio between rail transports, and inland waterway shipping to road transports in the European seaport hinterland network. As forecasts indicate a rapid growth of container handling volumes in the North Range from around 40 million TEU in 2011 up to 70 million TEU in 2025, the total number of trucks arriving at seaport terminals is anticipated to increase concurrently. At present, stochastic truck arrivals impede optimal planning of personal and equipment deployment by the terminal operator. This results in trucks waiting during peak hours in front of the terminal (pre-) gates and at yard handling areas. In order to gain more insight into the distribution of truck arrival times and to enable management of equalized arrival flows, truck appointment systems have been implemented at several ports located mainly outside Europe. The aim of this research project is to identify existing process steps used for truck reservation practices and vehicle/container checking and handling at selected North Range container terminals. Potentials and hindrances of implementing truck appointment systems are evaluated from different stakeholders' perspectives. Concluding, possibilities of integrating trucker responses, unplanned delays and short-term window selection into wait time forecasts relying on artificial intelligence are discussed.