ECT to launch ‘fixed windows’ pilot for barge handling

Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam (ECT) aims to further expand its service provision to barge operators and more effectively cater to the various segments that make up the inland container shipping market. To this end, a pilot with so-called ‘fixed windows’ for inland barges will be launched in January 2018. If the pilot proves to be successful, then ECT will make this service available to the market; the various conditions under which this will occur will be tested in the pilot.

The fixed windows are intended for barge operators that, either independently or jointly, are capable of directly calling at one of the ECT terminals with substantial volumes of containers for discharging and loading. Barge operators for whom this is not possible can continue to make use of the regular procedure or opt for the Barge Transferium Maasvlakte.

Three inland shipping combinations will participate in the pilot, which in principle will run for three months. The parties in question are respectively HTS Intermodal, the combination CCT Moerdijk, Barge Terminal Tilburg and the combination Contargo, Haeger & Schmidt, European Gateway Services. Besides call size, the applicable criteria relate to the sailing schedule in Rotterdam, the ability to guarantee fixed weekly calls, punctuality and data exchange. The pilot also addresses the question whether a more commercial relationship contributes to improving inland container shipping.

Leo Ruijs, CEO of ECT: "With this pilot, which we will hopefully be able to convert into a new service, we are once again offering the market a choice. In addition to the regular handling of barges, fixed windows and the Barge Transferium Maasvlakte are services with which we acknowledge the diversity within the inland container shipping segment. Based on its own capabilities, the barge operator is offered choices. Furthermore, we want to enter into a mature customer relationship with container inland shipping through these new services.”