The origin of ECT
ECT prominent in the port for 50 years
May 3 1966
The beginning of a new era
ECT's most widely used invention across the globe
50 years of ECT, 50 years of social innovation
Hinterland Transport is in ECT's Genes
Already remarkable for over a quarter century

The future is synchromodal

Director Marketing & Sales ECT and source of inspiration for synchromodal transport within the Dutch Top Sector Logistics

Cooperation is the key to success

Mr. Wim van der Leegte - CEO VDL Group

ECT at the forefront of container handling for 50 years

Leo Ruijs - Chief Executive Officer ECT

How ECT continues to develop our economy

Bart Kuipers - Erasmus University Rotterdam

Innovation will always continue

Paul van Bennekom

Towards the container handling of the future...

Jan Waas - Director Technology & Engineering ECT

Craftsmanship is mastery

Jasper Hooykaas - Director Operations & HR

ECT's most widely used invention across the globe

In April 1979, airline passengers at Zestienhoven Airport (nowadays known as Rotterdam The Hague Airport) were treated to quite an unusual sight. Just what was that special small train? Former ECT employee Jan van Strien has plenty of tantalising stories. “What they saw were our first tests with the Multi Trailer System (MTS). Zestienhoven kindly offered us the space we needed to make our first trial runs. Of course, the moment an airplane approached we had to make way.”

‘The moment an airplane approached we had to make way.’

Inspired by the luggage transport systems at airports, the invention of the MTS in the late seventies was one of many in the history of ECT. The approximately 80-metre long train on car tyres makes it possible to simultaneously transport ten TEU (ten 20-foot containers) across a terminal. The MTS was developed in close consultation with the Delft University of Technology and manufacturer Buiscar. It was developed with a new, more spacious future ECT site in mind. Van Strien: “The MTS was also deployed at the former terminal of ECT at the Eemhaven, but in reality the space there was too limited.”

'An MTS can carry ten TEU simultaneously'

Unique to the MTS is its exact tracking. Using smart technology, the five chassis (each for two TEU) which can linked behind a terminal tractor with 315 kW (over 400 hp) can exactly follow each other’s route, also when turning. This makes the MTS ideal for manoeuvring on a terminal. The first opportunity to optimally deploy the MTS was at the Delta Multi User Terminal at the Maasvlakte, launched in 1984 and officially opened in 1985. Here, the MTS consistently positioned ten TEU simultaneously underneath the quay cranes or removed the containers again. However, the MTS was – and still is – also highly practical for such operations as transporting containers between the stack of the deepsea terminal and the inland barge terminal and/or rail terminal.

'Unique to the MTS is its exact tracking'

MTS and straddlecarriers in 1999

ECT was never exclusive in terms of the MTS. From the very start, the container train was globally marketed by Buiscar, which initially paid ECT royalties for the patent. Van Strien remembers the many trips around the world to demonstrate the MTS and to train terminals in the use of the container train. “The United States, Jamaica, Dubai, Estonia, Italy ... where haven’t we been?” Over time, other manufacturers also entered the market, only leading to an increased use worldwide.

'The container train was globally marketed right from the very start'

Throughout the years, regular consideration has been given to allowing the MTS on the public road in the Netherlands. So far, this however is still not allowed. There was one notable exception though. Van Strien: “In 2005, ECT deployed a new MTS set fresh from the factory for the ceremonial ship launch of the Nedlloyd Mondriaan in the heart of Rotterdam. After the festivities, we had permission to drive the MTS to the Maasvlakte. But in the end, the police prevented this. After much discussion, we were allowed to take the MTS to the Home Terminal at the Eemhaven. Under police escort, we drove through Rotterdam late at night.”

‘We drove through Rotterdam under police escort’

At first glance, the 2016 MTS seems unchanged from the 1979 model. Over the years, the engine, controls and ergonomics have however been significantly improved. One of the recent innovations is the ability of the vehicle to automatically brake in curves using GPS. After all, safety is paramount. At the ECT Delta Terminal, the MTS has already proven itself an indispensable workhorse for more than 30 years. To ensure a smooth and flexible service rendering to customers, almost 30 tractors and over 110 MTS sets (each consisting of five chassis) are available 24/7 for the internal terminal transport of containers. And a new task will be added soon. At the Container Exchange Route which Rotterdam will be commissioning for moving containers between the different terminals at the Maasvlakte, the transport will also take place using Multi Trailer Systems.

 

 

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The origin of ECT

ECT prominent in the port for 50 years

May 3 1966

The beginning of a new era

ECT's most widely used invention across the globe

50 years of ECT, 50 years of social innovation

Hinterland Transport is in ECT's Genes

Already remarkable for over a quarter century