European Gateway Services (hereafter EGS), the Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam transport product, forms a crucial link connecting the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, with multiple inland terminals in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Austria. EGS was founded in 2010, its objective being to organise sustainable and efficient hinterland transport. Good software systems are indispensable to making that happen. Raymon van Bokkem (Business Consultant) and Nils de Brons (Finance Manager) explain how the new multi-leg booking application has made a huge amount of relevant information far more transparent.
In 2017, it became apparent that the current ICMS system required an upgrade. Raymon was appointed project lead and made responsible for this automation project. Raymon: ‘We designated a large group of key users to clarify the requests. For instance, compared to the old system, we wanted to enhance the customer service department’s user-friendliness, process more planning data, and do a better job of registering customer requests. For example, that could include:
- Package agreements
- Demurrage and detention agreements
- Shipping company requests
Choice of supplier
Once the requests have been defined, the project will be put out for tender on the market. Raymon: ‘That tender process led to the decision for Modality, mainly due to their knowledge of the market. Another advantage was that our teams were already familiar with Modality modules. We didn’t have to learn the ropes first, which allowed us to focus completely on improving the application.
“Modality definitely deserves praise for its pragmatic approach. If there is a modification request on a list somewhere and it’s being processed, we can be confident it will get done.”
The new multi-leg system ensures that transport elements can be linked, so that transports can be booked in significant detail. Nils:
‘The new booking application allows us to do a much better job registering bookings.”
For example, in the past, we would need to create separate orders to obtain a clear overview of the ‘first mile trucking’ leg or ‘last mile trucking’ leg. We not only have a better overview of the costs of each terminal and operator, but the “On Time Performance” and reliability of transports are more transparent as well. Better communication with the customer also ensures better planning; however, we are not yet ready. Version 2.0 isn’t 100% complete yet or we are already talking about version 2.1. The next items on the agenda are, for example, improving storage operations at the terminal and report processing. We’re also looking into a quotation module for our sales organisation.’
EGS is programmed with a wide range of procurement options, ensuring that the new booking application is a system that features multiple interfaces. It constitutes the central customer service system from which data is transmitted to planning and terminal systems. Customers can simultaneously enter or view data using the web-based client portal developed by Modality. Questions such as ‘When will my container arrive?’ and ‘On which leg was it booked?’ are answered quickly and easily. Great project organisation and sufficient capacity for supporting the technology are essential for projects of this calibre. Raymon: ‘Modality definitely deserves praise for its pragmatic approach. If there is a modification request on a list somewhere and it’s being processed, we can be confident it will get done.’
Would you like to know more about the implementation of the EGS multi-leg booking system or would you like to find out about what your application options are? Contact us. We would be pleased to provide you with personalised advice!