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    Systematically networked

    The IT landscape at the Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven combines the tried-and-tested with the innovative. The Port Community System has been in use in Bremerhaven for a number of years; the terminal operating system is offered as a standard product by the world market leader. Special feature: automated gate handling ensures maximum efficiency of truck clearance.

    Complex IT projects and human offspring have one thing in common: their teething troubles are a cause of concern for family members and cost a lot of nervous energy. At the EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven, which opened in autumn 2012, by contrast, the IT landscape 20 months into operation is not a subject that ignites the emotions. “We are in a steady state,” says Jens Flemming, head of IT at the EUROGATE site.

    This is due not least to the fact that most of the port systems in Wilhelmshaven are not new developments, but have long since stood the test of practical application 50 km to the east in Bremerhaven. “For the port stakeholders – terminal operators, shipping lines, forwarders and authorities – one important question already arose during planning: “How shall we network the Jade-Weser Port with respect to data technology? Should we develop something completely new – or should we fall back on tried-and-tested solutions?” Flemming recalls.

    The decision was made in favour of using the basic set-up applied in Bremerhaven. That means: the Port Community System developed over the years by dbh Logistics IT AG in Bremerhaven acquired a younger sister in Wilhelmshaven. The Port Community System is a data platform on which the terminal operator EUROGATE, shipping lines, forwarders, rail operators, the port authority, customs and various other port management stakeholders exchange data. “Smooth and efficient processes always require a system that links up these flows of data. The Port Community makes an important contribution to successful terminal operations,” IT expert Flemming explains.

    The Port Community System provides applications for a wide range of processes. Participating systems include DACOM for dangerous goods notifications, Wilhelmshavener Hafentelematik (WHT), CODIS for rail scheduling, the Business Integration Platform BIP for import declarations (sea) and Business Integration Truck (BIT) – application software developed by dbh to support container delivery and collection processes by truck.

    Business Integration Truck is not available as part of the sister system in Bremerhaven. This is a new development from dbh for Germany’s only deep-water port and is used for exchanging data about containers delivered to or collected from the port by truck. With the help of the so-called “pre-announcement” feature, forwarders can transmit container numbers to the system in advance, so that at the gate the trucker only needs to confirm them. This saves the driver having to enter data at the entrance area to the terminal and speeds up collection and delivery processes.


    Truck clearance at the Eurogate terminal is one of the showpieces of the Jade-Weser Port. It works on a virtually paperless basis. On arrival, the driver identifies himself with his trucker card (the same that is used in Bremerhaven and Hamburg) at the in-gate. A photo of his container is also taken. On the photo the container number is automatically identified and compared with the data in EUROGATE’s terminal operating system. If the forwarder has made use of the pre-announcement feature, the driver can drive in after keying in a pre-announcement number. Otherwise he has to enter certain data manually. Only if something needs to be clarified is it necessary for the driver to call at the interchange, otherwise he can drive in directly. At the unloading station he again identifies himself with his trucker card, which is the process-accompanying medium, and his truck is unloaded.

    Video technology is also used for import containers. The container number is filmed and identified. The system checks whether the right container has been loaded and releases it for onward transport. Only in the case of dangerous goods containers and other special goods is the container checked by a member of the terminal staff. A time-saving automated check is also carried out at the customs out-gate. The system checks whether the goods have Community status or, in the case of non-Community goods, whether a corresponding customs procedure has been opened. Only when one of these conditions is met, is the truck permitted to depart. Otherwise the driver must present himself at the customs border station located at the terminal.

    The systems for customs clearance in Wilhelmshaven differ to those used in Bremerhaven in fact. That is because the circumstances are different. The Bremerhaven terminals are located in a free zone, whereas the container terminal in Wilhelmshaven is a container port. This difference has a major impact on the administrative formalities and ultimately on the design of the IT systems.

    The hub and pivot of the IT system at the Eurogate Terminal in Wilhelmshaven is the TOS standard software Navis N4 2.4, which was released by the US world market leader in 2012. Navis 2.4 is considered one of the most advanced and efficient solutions for terminals currently available. It goes without saying that the TOS also communicates with the Port Community software – and it is also linked to the data processing systems of the shipping lines via EDIFACT interfaces. “Without IT support, efficient terminal operations would be impossible today,” Jens Flemming says succinctly.