The Antwerp Gateway is a semi-automated container terminal located on the left bank of the Port of Antwerp. The Antwerp Gateway Terminal is the first terminal in DP World’s portfolio to operate automated stacking cranes and provide container storage for a large part of the terminal stacking capacity. More than 65% of all containers loaded on or discharged from deep sea vessels arrive or leave by truck, which creates large lineups of idling vehicles waiting to drop off or retrieve cargo.
With the QLess vehicle booking system, drivers now wait remotely which eliminates the need to sit with their diesel engines running. Since deploying QLess, DP World has vastly improved productivity, saved hundreds of hours a day for truck drivers, and now prevents 730,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.
Between 1,400 to 2,400 trucks funnel through the Antwerp Gateway Terminal each day with their engines running while waiting to enter. Wim Verdonck, Optimization Supervisor at DP World in Antwerp, said, “During our opening hours we see peaks in the number of trucks entering our terminal. Congestion on our internal roads decreases productivity and increases the waiting time in our terminal.” After looking at a number of options, DP World selected QLess as their partner to reduce these wait times and prevent congestion by implementing their vehicle booking system for terminal capacity management.
“With more than 1,400 regular visiting trucking companies in an international environment, it was a huge challenge to find a solution that could integrate into our complex terminal system and work solely by using APIs. We needed a partner that had experience in the field of queue management and an easy-to-use system. After a major data and process analysis, we created a plan using the Kanban Principle of pull. Trucks needed to be buffered if exchange areas reached a certain quota. As soon as the quota is below the threshold, the next waiting truck is called up and can proceed to the handling area,” said Verdonck.
The QLess vehicle booking system team created “virtual buffer” queues and used a call-up principle to integrate with a visual board. Waiting truck drivers receive text notifications as their turn approaches, but can also view their name on a video wall. Drivers are automatically connected throughout every stage of the port’s Gate Operating System so they can use the new system without any additional touch points. “Our lead-time was short, but the project was completed by QLess within the required timeframe set by DP World management,” said Verdonck.
As soon as the vehicle booking system for terminal capacity management was implemented, the port experienced massive improvements: Firstly, all truck lines have been eliminated. As a result, exchange areas are now reachable at all times because there are not hundreds of trucks blocking common areas. Additionally, traffic jams leading in and out of the port have been eradicated. Truck drivers now avoid wasting hours a day waiting in line which, within the first year of the new queuing system, is expected to result in eliminating at least 730,000 kilograms of CO2.
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