Facilitating truck flow
DP World Antwerp hopes to launch the new app for truck drivers by the summer. “The app is primarily intended to facilitate the work of the truckers,” says William De Vos, Innovation Manager at DP World Antwerp. Between two and five thousand trucks pass through the terminal of quay 1700 every day—all of which have to go through a lengthy procedure to pick up or drop off their container. “In this sense, the drivers are a major stakeholder. To ensure the proper functioning of the terminal, it's crucial for them to be able to carry out their work as smoothly as possible,” states William De Vos.
Innovation, transparency and safety
DP World chose Emakina Group agency The Reference as its partner for the realization of this innovative and strategic project. The full-service digital agency is ideally placed to guide them as it has been the driving force behind numerous digital transformation projects for major players in a variety of sectors. “Their integrated approach, from participating in the concept discussions to drawing up the technical architecture – with many complex integrations – right through to the realisation of the app, is what convinced us,” adds William De Vos.
“However, this project involves more than just developing an app. In the long term, we will also allow other stakeholders to connect to a new platform which focuses on data sharing via APIs. After all, data accuracy, speed and transparency are crucial elements for DP World's partners. A user-friendly web platform will allow them to make better decisions, and more quickly too,” explains John De Wever, spokesperson for The Reference. “In addition, DP World Antwerp greatly appreciates our vision of using innovative technology to promote port safety,” he adds.
From automation to digitization
DP World is the first company to develop a mobile application for the trucking community. A survey of the target group by DP World showed that truck drivers are ready for the next step, from automation to digitization. The truck flow on quay 1700 is already partially automated, as containers are loaded and unloaded using automated stacking cranes. In the new app, the entire process will also be digitized. “Drivers can see what information they need without having to go to a checkpoint. Everything will be digitized in one place and, in the long term, physical documents will not be needed. As a result, truckers will no longer have to leave their trucks,” says William De Vos. This will also improve safety. Safety will be improved still further as the drivers are guided through each step of the flow, supplemented by a map with route guidance.
As the app will provide greater transparency about the level of activity at the terminal and the average waiting time, it will ensure a smoother flow in the long term. This information is currently only available on an online platform for the dispatchers and cannot be consulted by truckers on their smartphones. “Difficulties often arise because we ourselves have no influence on the influx of truckers. Although dispatchers schedule their appointment in advance, they often cannot take unexpected peaks into account. By sending the right information to the right people at the right time, we can decide for ourselves who should come to us at what time,” says William De Vos. “By going digital, we want to transform DP World Antwerp from a push to a pull terminal. The aim is to make the entire logistical procedure run as smoothly as possible.”
Better relationship with truckers
Another advantage is that communication will become more personal. With the new tool, DP World aims to improve the relationship with the trucking community and meet their needs. “We listened to the feedback from the truckers and dispatchers. We want to be able to communicate with them directly and deliver personalised messages. By communicating openly about waiting times and any unforeseen circumstances, we will provide the drivers with better information,” explains William De Vos. Each trucker will be informed personally of the waiting time and the location where he or she is expected. In addition, drivers will be able to give DP World feedback on its operations and will be shown the opening hours and an extensive list of frequently asked questions.
Over the next few weeks, the first tests will be conducted with a select group of users. After processing their feedback, DP World Antwerp hopes to introduce the app to a wider audience in June.