It is estimated that 25 percent (2.5 million TEU) of the containers - which are transported by truck, rail or barge - are empty. 'Transporting air' is not only expensive and inefficient, it is also an unnecessary burden on the environment. InlandLinks, the online intermodal platform for Rotterdam port, has developed an app which significantly reduces the transport of empty containers. This is a breakthrough in efficiency and sustainability for the entire logistics chain. This new 'empty depot tool' was launched in the presence of Hans Smits, President Director of the Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, and all concerned shipping companies among festivities at the Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam.
Empty depot tool
The online app - called 'empty depot tool' - shows the inland terminals where loaders and logistic service suppliers can pick up and drop off empty containers by connected shipping companies, to then reuse these containers for a new shipment. This means it is no longer necessary to automatically transport all empty containers back to Rotterdam. A logical choice, especially as the containers regularly end up returning empty to a shipper in the backcountry for the next load. This saves a large amount of unnecessary miles, which leads to less costs and a lower CO2 emission. There is a lot of faith in the application, which is obvious from the large amount of shipping companies who have already registered with the platform. Through InlandLinks they give loaders and freight forwarders more insight into their intermodal services from and to the backcountry of Rotterdam. Hans Smits:
"By investing fully in the optimising of the logistics chains we are strengthening our position as the largest port in Europe. Extending efficiency for our customers and the entire chain is therefore an important part of our mission. Good and reliable connections with our backcountry network is also an issue on which Rotterdam distinguishes itself internationally from other ports. The new app that InlandLinks has developed unites these two points innovatively."
Collaborating with market parties
The InlandLinks platform founded in 2011 was the first to put various backcountry terminals in Holland, Belgium, Germany and other European countries on the map based on certain criteria. Earlier this year the service was further extended with an online intermodal route planner, with which visitors can find the most sustainable and efficient route per waterway of rail from and to Rotterdam. Donald Baan, Project Manager at InlandLinks: "The new application is the third big step in the further optimising of the entire logistics chain. From the start we have listened to the needs of all market parties - varying from loaders to inland terminals, shipping companies and logistic suppliers. In agreement with these parties we have developed the empty depot tool and through good collaboration have been able to continue to grow to an international platform of this size."