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Mobilising global freight data

Unlocking extra value by improving accuracy and efficiency, reducing terminal dwell times, and increasing efficiency of hinterland transportation.


Awareness: Europe Container Terminals (ECT) is the largest, most advanced container terminal operator in Europe, responsible for serving a large number of shipping lines and hinterland transport operators. The flow of containers requires a huge amount of planning and organisation. The invisible flow of container-related data has become crucial to make the whole operation work reliably and efficiently. Through European Gateway Services (EGS), ECT is extending its operations from its deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam to various inland terminals, functioning as ‘extended gates’. EGS provides shipping lines, forwarders, shippers and transport companies with a comprehensive range of services for the fast, safe and efficient transportation of containers

between the deep-sea terminals in Rotterdam and the European hinterland. After all, what primarily matters to companies is that cargo always arrives efficiently at its final destination, at the agreed-upon time and against the right tariff. ECT makes this possible through a continuously expanding, open network of inland terminals which function as extended gates of the deep-sea terminals: fast, reliable, without administrative hassle and especially also sustainable. COMCIS improves situational awareness and makes the EGS services more predictable and better integrated with ECT’s deep-sea terminals. This gives more reliable service to their customers and uses transport resources more efficiently.

Results: Taking the extended gateway to the next level.

Collaboration: Seamless connection between deep-sea terminal and hinterland.


With Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS) moving more and more containers, discharging an entire ship takes longer. If you don’t know exactly when a container is going to be unloaded from the ship, you can only guess when it can be transported into the hinterland. This means that inland operators, Logistics Service Providers, often just have to wait. They plan their onward transport by adding 24 hours to the vessel’s Actual Time of Arrival (ATA), before even starting to plan the onward transportation of the expected containers.

COMCIS aims to improve the efficiency of ECT’s hinterland system, European Gateway Services, by combining services and bringing together sets of raw data from multiple, previously isolated sources into a single window. This consists of three distinct parts:

Bringing together accurate information The Unloading Predictor forecasts accurately when a container in the deep-sea terminal is ready for hinterland transportation. This is combined with better insight into moves and load factors of overland transport modes like barge, rail and road.

Removing bottlenecks from the process ECT’s Extended Line Release allows containers to move to the hinterland faster, by postponing commercial release of containers to the hinterland terminal. This may also take place for customs release as part of the EGS product.

Synchromodal Dashboard Users are presented with a dashboard that allows them to drill-down to problems and details, providing decision support to hinterland Operations Managers and more transparency for the operators involved.

These services are added as a thin layer on top of existing operational systems and supplementary external data sources, creating an integrated dashboard to support European Gateway Services.

The resulting visibility and decision support capabilities will make it possible for ECT to provide its shipping customers with more comprehensive services, above and beyond discharging their containers at the deep-sea terminal.

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Opportunity: Driving additional value for businesses. COMCIS provides an easy-to-deploy framework that creates a single network from multiple supply chains. COMCIS brings together data that have previously been scattered, and applies the information drawn from the entire data chain to improve a specific part of the network. COMCIS provides support to help ECT turn awareness throughout the whole network into value for their business. COMCIS promotes service improvements that can become part of a company’s position, strategy, and market value. It can help companies

become more efficient, provide better customer service, and create new strategic ideas. The result is a seamless, more efficient connection between deep-sea terminal operations and onward hinterland transport. Customers of European Gateway Services will experience a transparent, more predictable container delivery. This is a win-win situation in which customers get better service and ECT improves its offering and gets more efficient operations. A company like DHL can now use more accurate visibility information provided by ECT, using European Gateway Services for efficient hinterland transportation.

DHL Story

The following transport and logistics actors worked with COMCIS on the ECT project. Their individual contributions are described below.

Logit Systems BVBA

Logit Systems BVBA: Provides visibility & decision support dashboard based on a data consolidation layer, deploying the Common Framework for standardising B2B data, integrating data from container terminal operators. Project coordination.


Descartes: Provides the Global Logistics Network (GLN) to demonstrate the aggregation of terminal milestone data from ECT and explore the different business models.


DHL: Acts as exploitation coordinator on behalf of the industrial partners.

Cargo Community System VZW

Cargo Community System VZW: Defines KPI's and monitors improvements.

Administration of Customs and Excise

The Belgian Administration of Customs and Excise: Exchanges experience on how customs release can be extended into the hinterland.


The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO): Leads the business case. Analysis and design of the Unloading Predictor.

Europe Container Terminals (ECT)

Europe Container Terminals (ECT): Deploys the COMCIS solution. Provides real-time data on terminal milestones (SICIS). Implementation of the Unloading Predictor. Provides an aggregation point to hinterland service availability and status.

Marlo AS

Marlo AS: Project evaluation. Consolidates feedback into the Common Framework standardisation process.

Bluegreen Strategy SRL (Italy)

Bluegreen Strategy SRL: Ensures compatibility of COMCIS with ongoing European architectural developments.