Rotterdam Offers App for Container Tracking

Published Nov 9, 2019 3:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is providing Boxinsider, a tracking and tracing app, to shippers and forwarding companies to give them real-time status information on containers they import via the Port.

Boxinsider uses the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and estimated time of departure (ETD) of vessels as forwarded by terminals. According to Erik van de Kamp, Product Lead Digital Business Solutions at the Port Authority, these are the most reliable. Data sources such as those from terminals, the harbor master and public sources are used for the actual time of arrival (ATA) and actual time of departure (ATD). Boxinsider provides users both with an overview per container and an overview of the vessels on which the containers are located. Automatic push messages share information about anomalies and delays proactively with the user. 

Launching customer ABC Logistics has been working increasingly intensively with this digital tool for the past half year. ABC Logistics provides logistics services for fresh products: fruit and vegetables. The company works for both national and international clients and arranges the entire process of collecting products from the grower to preparing them for shipment. Annually ABC Logistics imports some 3,000 containers, of which the largest part arrives via the Port of Rotterdam. 

According to Account Manager Remco Verwaal: “We are expanding and will be importing more reefer containers. This means that we’ll be getting busier. At the same time, changing laws and regulations with respect to fruit and vegetables are resulting in additional tasks. If we can make time gains anywhere, we’ll do so.”

In the past, Verwaal used to have to collect information from various sources to track import containers and create schedules. “Constantly monitoring terminals’ websites and PortBase is time-consuming and not great. That’s why we really wanted one platform that contains the status information of our import containers. We started using Boxinsider in May and are now using this more and more intensively.

“I have a total overview of the containers we’re expecting, including ETA, ETD, discharge and gate-out. This is a huge help in formulating schedules for clients and inspectors. I can keep them informed and take targeted actions.”

The Port Authority aims to make Boxinsider an increasingly complete track and trace system. In the long term, it will also be possible to use Boxinsider to track import and export containers. Users will be offered the opportunity to add references, such as the carriers they’re working with. So there will be more status reports. The first empty depots and various inland terminals will also be sharing their data so that Boxinsider can track containers by rail and barge as well.