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Rivergate: duisport and VITRONIC present solution for automatic detection of containers

  • Intelligent camera systems record the condition and ID of the load unit
  • Seamless documentation in real time
  • Another milestone in the digitization of the world’s largest inland port

duisport is taking the next important step on the way to the digital port of the future: while the use of “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR) gates has already been implemented on the rail and roadsides in the Port of Duisburg, there has been no solution on the waterside so far.

Together with VITRONIC, one of the world’s leading companies for industrial image processing, duisport developed a “Rivergate” based on high-resolution 12K cameras in only 15 months and successfully tested it on two cranes. This created a sustainable solution for digitally recording the ID of the container and comparing it with the loading list in just a few seconds and with a recognition rate of almost 100 percent when loading and unloading an inland vessel.

In combination with the “Crane Management System” (CMS) of the company POLO KNOW-HOW, it is thus possible to avoid incorrect loading, since in cases of so-called “mispicking” the spreader can no longer be unlocked. At the same time, the system is able to detect the integrity of the customs seal and any damage to the container. This will optimize existing processes in day-to-day operations and further advance the digitalization of the world’s largest inland port.

The gateway to the digital freight terminal

Rivergate will initially be used on a crane at the Duisburg Trimodal Terminal (D3T) at logport I in Duisburg-Rheinhausen and on a crane at the GWW terminal at logport II in Duisburg-Hochfeld. The installation of the specially developed camera systems enables efficient and transparent condition documentation and recording in real time – even at night and in poor weather conditions.

As the container passes the crane bridge, the system records the condition of the loading unit in high-resolution images. Several specially developed algorithms work in the background, making the data immediately available to the Crane Management System (CMS) and the Terminal Operation System (TOS). In this way, the container number can be compared with the loading list to prevent incorrect loading.

Rivergate not only enables important process optimization, but also is another milestone in the digitalization of the Port of Duisburg. This is a great benefit for duisport and the entire customer and partner network of the central logistics hub in the heart of Europe.

“When unloading containers, crane operators rarely have the chance to check their condition. Once set down, the loading unit as flawless, even if it was already damaged. Thanks to Rivergate, we can now prove the condition of the containers and track their whereabouts in the Terminal gapless document”, says Prof. Thomas Schlipköther, duisport Board Member for Technology and Operations, who has been committed to the digitalization of the Port terminals for many years and has initiated numerous projects to this end.

“With the Rivergate solution, VITRONIC is opening up a new business field. We already use the technology in other application areas, such as toll collection or the identification of parcels. We are now using this expertise to further advance digitalization in freight transport as well,” reports Daniel Scholz-Stein, CEO of VITRONIC.

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Cooperation renewed and expanded – Ports of Duisburg and Rotterdam intensify cooperation

  • Partnership to be expanded to include the areas of digitalisation and energy transition
  • Joint development of hydrogen hubs planned

The port authorities of Duisburg and Rotterdam have jointly signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to renew and expand their cooperation agreements that date back to 2020. Besides existing agreements relating to the optimisation of logistical connections, the cooperation will be expanded to include initiatives in the area of digitisation and the energy transition. The agreement was signed by Markus Bangen, CEO at duisport and Allard Castelein, CEO at Port of Rotterdam.

duisport and the Port of Rotterdam have been trading partners for a long time. For example, each year more than one million TEU of containers are exchanged between the two logistics hubs. Almost a third of them are already shipped by rail. Digitisation and data sharing could further increase the part played by this sustainable mode of transport. This LOI is aimed at creating the most digital and most sustainable port-inland hub connection in the world by linking Duisburg’s ‘Rail Freight Data Hub’ initiative with Rotterdam’s ‘Rail Connected’.

Hydrogen hubs

The LOI also includes agreements on looking into the possibility of linking the port community systems Portbase (Rotterdam) to the RheinPorts Information System (Duisburg) and to learn from each other’s initiatives in the area of digital twin projects. With regard to the energy transition, both ports plan to investigate whether they can jointly take on the development of hydrogen hubs. Rotterdam as the future ‘hydrogen gateway’ to Europe and duisport as the hub for Germany. Setting up a physical link between the two is therefore an obvious choice.

‘We are facing major challenges that we will overcome together much faster, more efficiently and more intelligently’, says Markus Bangen. ‘Particularly in the areas of digitalization and the energy transition, it is important to work together and share our knowledge and expertise. I am therefore very pleased that we will continue the trusting partnership between the ports of Duisburg and Rotterdam.’

Likeminded partners

Allard Castelein is also particularly pleased with the renewal and expansion of the cooperation. ‘Digitisation and energy transition are as important to duisport’s strategy as they are to our own. We believe in the power of collaboration with likeminded organisations. This LOI represents a positive step in that direction.’

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