The Port of Rotterdam Authority has launched a new app called Pronto to cut ship waiting time.
Around 30,000 vessels call on Rotterdam each year, and the app allows them to cut their waiting time by an average of 20 percent through more effective use of capacity at the port terminals and the precise coordination of vessel services such as bunkering, maintenance and provisioning. Pronto provides shipping companies, agents, terminal operators and other service providers with a joint platform for the exchange of information relating to their port calls. They can either use the Pronto dashboard or input the data directly into their own systems.
As soon as a vessel’s estimated time of arrival becomes known, it is assigned its own timeline within Pronto. This timeline specifies every event that the vessel will be involved in during its port call from its arrival and stay in the port to its departure.
Pronto combines public data, data supplied by participating companies and predictions generated by artificial intelligence to maximize the accuracy of information presented in relation to a port call. However, it never shares any information regarding the vessels’ cargo.
The information is presented in a customized dashboard, allowing the user to easily filter the available data and zoom in on the timeline of individual port calls as required. The progress and status of the various events are constantly updated in the dashboard. This allows users to monitor developments and adjust course where required. If they like, users can set the app to automatically alert them in the event of a relevant status update or changes to the planning.
Pronto takes advantage of the standards agreed for nautical port information last year. A variety of interest groups, port authorities (including the Port of Rotterdam Authority) and private companies jointly adopted the standards to reduce delays and as a result reduce air emissions. The standards stipulate, for example, which system is referred to for water depths and how to communicate admission policies and vessel’s arrival and departure times in the ports.
In the past, information like this was defined and communicated in a wide variety of ways. In the Netherlands the Amsterdam Ordnance Datum (NAP) was often used as a zero level benchmark for height and water depth measurements. In Belgium, however, the Second General Levelling (TWA) reference level was used, and France refers to the average sea level at Marseille. For a captain, it is a waste of time to have to recalculate the depth under the ship’s keel every time it enters new waters.
Port Authority CFO Paul Smits says Pronto was extensively tested over the past year and will now be made available to members of the port community – either in exchange for data or for a fee. “In the period ahead, we will be further developing the application and adding a number of new features. We expect more and more terminals in the port to start using Pronto, which in turn will increase the accuracy of the data it generates.”
Shell was one of the parties that participated in the pilot in Rotterdam last year. Ed Barsingerhorn, General Manager of Shipping & Maritime, Europe & Africa, said: "The pilot convinced us of the added value of Pronto. We have reduced the waiting time up to 20 percent for departing ships. It is essential that all parties involved in the process, including terminal and agent, work closely together and share relevant data. When we exchange time stamp data not only in Rotterdam but also between ports, the improvement potential increases significantly. Ships can sail optimally laden and arrive just-in-time through better planning.”