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Rotterdam Port calls off tender for unmanned transport

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The tender procedure for the unmanned transportation of containers at the Port of Rotterdam has been suspended. The Port of Rotterdam Authority has said that there were too many risks and uncertainties associated with the unmanned transport on Container Exchange Route (CER) due to which they decided to suspend the tender and inform all the involved parties in the tender procedure.

The CER enables transportation of containers on the Maasvlakte. A 17-kilometer road network connects all terminals, container depots, distribution centers, and customs facilities on the Maasvlakte.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority had floated a request on the TenderNed website for the interested parties to submit their tender regarding the unmanned transport on CER. Port authorities did receive technically feasible proposals but due to the complications involved in the project, it was decided to cancel the tender procedure.

The Port believes that prospects for unmanned transportation of containers from stack to stack will be open in the future. Hence they will keep consulting the experts, potential suppliers, and other stakeholders to explore options of autonomous container transport.

The CER is under construction and is expected to be operational by the year’s end. When CER will be fully operational, 70 vehicles will be needed to shift containers. The port authorities are consulting parties to find ways of using CER with manned container transport. Hybrid autonomous transport is one possible way for the port authorities. In the hybrid format vehicles can be operated by human drivers as well as the vehicle runs autonomously giving the operators freedom of choice.

For the transportation of containers, port authorities also have to explore options to reduce emissions. European Union has already granted 25 million euros to a consortium headed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority for promoting zero-emission transport in ports. A project having the acronym MAGPIE will be using the EU grant to find smarter and greener modes of transportation in ports.


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