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  • 2022 December 8 16:47

    Terminal operators upgrade rail-shortsea connection at Rotterdam

    Procedures have been overhauled in a critical link between Europe’s rail freight and shortsea networks in Rotterdam, in an upgrade responding to customer feedback which also enhances multimodal transport competitiveness, according to Samskip's release.

    Rail Service Center Rotterdam (RSC) loads and discharges 14-15 freight trains daily on average, at a state-of-the-art terminal fed by nine train service providers weekly from all over Europe. While many of the estimated 270,000 cargo units passing through each year are redistributed overland, significant numbers transfer to shortsea ships. Around 70,000 units move via the nearby Rotterdam Shortsea Terminals (RST).

    In a project initiated by the boards of the two terminal companies and supported by Samskip, work began in May 2022 to eliminate inefficiencies in the connecting ‘shunt’. All three parties recognise optimising the modal switch of unitised cargoes at Europe’s largest container port as a material factor in shipper transport choices.

    Based on an RST initiative to engage a Six Sigma Black Belt specialist, the partners formed a 10-strong team to perform in-depth analysis across 14 work items on operations, with partners reviewing progress bi-weekly. In addition to greater collaboration on workflow and prioritisation, the outcome introduces lean process management to the entire operation.

    Key performance improvements have already been achieved, especially by eliminating misinterpreted through-transport instructions passing between the parties, and by firming up and aligning procedures. Other gains have flowed from a better definition of closing times/peak traffic hours at each terminal, and by escalating awareness when shunting assets are under-utilized. Over 98% of containers are now meeting allocated ship or train slots, while new procedures are also prioritising corrective action where slots are missed.




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