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Published: 2020-03-18

Rotterdam selects INFORM for software optimization

Technology Rotterdam selects INFORM for software optimization

Photo: INFORM

The company will deliver the Capacity and Planning Platform (CAPP), comprised of a plug-in set of optimization modules, for Port of Rotterdam's front-end user interface, the Container Exchange Route (CER).

CER itself is a novel concept, that comprises and links dedicated infrastructure, logistics agreements and IT systems, allowing for shorter turnaround times of deep-sea vessels, as well as increased planning flexibility.

By bundling container flows and eliminating the need for trains, barges and feeders to call all terminals individually, CER increases the reliability and efficiency of container transshipments. Partners of the project include Hutchinson's ECT-Delta, ECT-Euromax, APMT Rotterdam, Rotterdam World Gateway and APMT MVII as well as Dutch Customs, Distripark, empty depots, and the barge feeder terminals on the Maasvlakte.

On the technical side, the project is comprised of a front-end user interface (CER Platform) and a Capacity and Planning Platform (CAPP), to be provided by INFORM. CAPP receives data from the CER Platform, analyses it, and sends back optimized proposals for execution. The analyses includes: whether a new order is feasible given current workload and constraints, a journey plan for containers, the generation of schedules, and finally a schedule of jobs for the Automated Road Trucks to transport containers to their destinations.

INFORM will employ artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, as part of their Syncrotess optimizers, for the project. Emile van Rijn, Projectmanager Capacity & Planning CER, Port of Rotterdam, said, "Optimization algorithms are crucial to the success of CAPP and therefor for the CER Project; due to the high number of parameters to be considered, it is not realistic for a staff member to manually plan the CER movements on the back of a cigar box."

The project will be delivered using an Agile Development approach with iterative releases planned regularly throughout the development process. Dr. Eva Savelsberg, SVP, Logistic Division, INFORM, elaborated on the approach, "Being able to deliver increments as early as possible brings benefits for both parties at the beginning of the project. Small steps towards the integration and communication between the CER Platform and CAPP means huge benefits for the projects overall progress due to the possibility to continuously test the software throughout the course of the implementation."

Robin Audenaerdt MSc MA, Technical Manager CER Systems, Port of Rotterdam, summed up the partnership, "[…] As the CER project is like going to the moon for the first time, it's good to have a partner that knows how to build an efficient rocket."

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