Efficiency boost for Port of Hamburg logistics
HHLA terminals in Hamburg daily handle more than 6,000 trucks
© HHLA/Thies Rätzke

Efficiency boost for Port of Hamburg logistics

Modern trucker and authentication apps are replacing the trucker card previously in use. These facilitate faster and more secure truck clearance at the port terminals.

The solutions from HHLA Next, Eurogate and Conroe, as well as Dakosy, also offer truckers the opportunity of optimizing their tour planning, or downloading freight data in realtime.

The Port of Hamburg handled a total of 3,8 million TEU in the container segment during the first half of 2023. In clearing this enormous volume in the port and its hinterland, digital tools were used to speed up processes. Truckers needing to enter a terminal facility have so far identified themselves with the ‘trucker card’ introduced by terminal operators almost twenty years ago. This will very soon be replaced by stateof- the-art trucker authentication apps.

HHLA Next, the group’s innovations unit, has developed ‘passify’, an app for digitalizing truck handling at HHLA terminals and other locations. This will provide conclusive identification of every trucker seeking admission to a terminal. More than 6,000 trucks per day are handled at HHLA’s terminals in Hamburg for collecting or delivering containers. “In future, every trucker will be verified and digitally authenticated at terminal entrances,” explains Marcel Wiegand, cofounder of ‘passify’. This will ensure that the pass is genuine and the driver is the person that he claims to be. “Verification is the initial step, and repeated at regular intervals.”

The app utilizes different authentication and security mechanisms through the smart phone to conclusively identify the driver and on the other hand to ensure that valid data protection rules are observed. These ‘digital gate access’ checks meet the security standards of ISPS – International Ship and Port Facility Codes, says Wiegand, a set of measures introduced in 2004 to counter threats to ships and port facilities and to define security in the supply chain. The main efficiency gain for truckers through using ‘passify’ in future will be that all truck processing will be digitally supported.

“Drivers barely need to leave their truck and can therefore save waiting times at various points along the supply chain,” stresses Wiegand. passify also enables drivers to link their orders and slots to their dispatch process. The app supports them in their local language the during dispatch process, providing tips and assistance as well as an overview of current workload. situations. From the terminals’ point of view, the efficiency gain lies in the fact that they do not need to make available any additional high-maintenance hardware, and the demise of all paperwork. passify will be introduced at the HHLA terminals in Hamburg by the end of 2023, but aims to offer various logistics players the prospect of support. This optimizes their truck processing.

“Every container that can be cleared a few minutes earlier represents a gain for the entire logistics chain,” confirms Felix Paul Czerny, founder and CEO of Conroo, which has specialized in digital clearance at container terminals, depots and warehouses. “Along with Eurogate, we have further developed our Conroo app at seaport terminals. This had already proved itself very well at various multimodal terminals in the hinterland, including some operated by DB – German Rail,” explains Czerny. The aim is to considerably shorten the clearance process and waiting times for trucks, and to avoid wasteful additional runs and stops. This optimizes processing times with digital reporting and makes tours easier to plan.

This solution functions on all normal smart phones and tablet PCs and already constitutes the entire process for tens of thousands of truckers. Run at terminals since March, live tests are proving wholly successful. As an extension to the Conroo app, the ‘digital trucker card’ will be successively introduced at all Eurogate terminals from March, also being available to all other terminal and depot operators, as well as warehouses.

“For us as customers, the main consideration was being able to resort to an existing, functioning secure system, tested in the field and with the potential to establish itself as a holistic and overarching solution”, adds Jannis Grantz, Eurogate’s Project Manager for digitalization and standardization. For instance, the slot booking system of the Truckgate IT platform operated by Dakosy has been integrated into Conroo. Its use had already been obligatory for container handling in Hamburg since 2017.

Conroo is also able to link the transport management systems of the relevant haulage companies via interface, so that these can book orders in the smartphone app, relieving the driver of as much work as possible. Yet Conroo not only fulfils the customer’s requirements, but displays the whole process – so that everything runs via one application if possible.

Marcel Wiegand
and Nico Marks

Co-Founder from passify

„In future
every trucker

will be verified
and digitally
at terminal entrances"

Drivers will be able to access the terminals more quickly with one of the new apps.
© Nicole de Jong

In the case of Eurogate, this means that the trucker not only authenticates himself via the trucker app, but in addition receives the tour planning plus relevant data on gates and lanes within the terminals. In addition, this solution can supply realtime data on changes in container arrival or train loading times.

The smartphone itself, which must be personally unlocked, also helps to enhance security. At the same time, freight is assigned to the driver. The advantage for truckers: They no longer need to leave their vehicle to obtain access to the terminal. This saves them considerable time in the course of their daily work.

ImpalaID is the universally usable authentication app for logistics by Hamburg software company Dakosy. “We have implemented a solution that functions in the port whatever the company, but in other areas too,” explains ImpalaID project manager Moritz Schick. “The new app closes a big gap in secure and standard authentication at different logistics nodes, for example at barrier or gate systems in the port area,” adds Nicolai Port, Dakosy’s Carrier Manager.

Users of the ImpalaID app initially identify themselves online with forename, family name and email address, which they need to confirm. In the app, various authentication levels can then be downloaded, for example the type and number of identification documents to be checked. These are verified at regular intervals.

The app and electronic ID are coupled to mobile terminals, for instance the trucker’s smartphone, and on occasion biometrically confirmed with facial or fingerprint scans. “This prevents simple passing on of data to third parties,” says Port. Data on carriers can also be stored there. None of this is possible with the trucker card currently used to identify drivers and to control vehicles at the terminals.

Once issued, this is totally valid and as a rule the data stored is neither updated nor verified. “Therefore, it is not certain whether the person producing the trucker card is in fact entitled to it. So we regard it as only to some extent meeting the requirements of the ISPS Code,” he adds.

The ImpalaID app facilitates secure legitimation for participants via a QR code that is only valid for a few minutes. In practice, the trucker shows this at the entrance to the terminal, where it is scanned by a reader. The data is transmitted via a web service in realtime to the terminal, which can immediately establish digitally, whether all the details are correct. If something is wrong, e.g. if the trucker has not downloaded his surname, he is denied access

Dakosy intends the ImpalaID app to be used as a neutral solution, not just for the digital identification of a driver at the port, but one established and implemented along the entire supply chain. “From collection to the point of delivery, the ID should be firmly linked to the freight,” explains Port.

One of the pilot users, the HCS empty container depot, is currently implementing digital authentication with the ImpalaID app as an alternative to the trucker card. This means that truckers can now report in advance via the Dakosy solution, then use the QR to legitimize themselves at the HCS depot for delivery or collection of empty containers. “Using the API programming interface made available by Dakosy, we have linked the app into our system and have been testing the proof-of-identity function by means of the QR code very successfully since the beginning of July,” says Justin Karnbach, Assistant Manager at HCS Hamburger Container Service.

Selected truckers initially participated in test operations, and meanwhile – with a few minor errors eliminated – every driver can use the ImpalaID app at HCS with no restrictions. In addition, more and more companies are switching to the new system. “With ImpalaID, Dakosy has created a solution for legitimizing truckers that offers an indispensable opportunity for traffic control, not just for terminal operators, but for various other companies in the port,” says Karnbach in praise of his new tool. In addition, this app has the potential to individually and selectively legitimize all truckers anywhere in the port. It offers the opportunity of a genuine, consistent port solution.

All three applications incorporate several languages. The crux of the matter: Three players, three solutions. It remains to be seen whether one app prevails

CTD going for innovative IT solutions

Digitalization optimizing logistics processes in the Port of Hamburg and into the hinterland:

At peak times in the Port of Hamburg road traffic, especially, suffers from bottlenecks. Digitalization is helping staff to save time, retain an overview, and organize processes securely, efficiently and economically. “Transparency in the supply chain is an essential factor for success,” says Marijo Pavlovic, Head of Operations for CTD – Container-Transport-Dienst. A subsidiary of HHLA – Hafen Hamburg und Logistik AG, CTD specializes in tours between port terminals and depots in Hamburg, and in shifting freight along the first and last mile, not just in the vicinity of Hamburg, but also around other German locations.

For many years, CTD have opted for innovative IT solutions that optimize logistics processes and speed up shipments. “Since we have been using cargo support’s software for example, truckers have been spared the drive to CTD head office,” he explains.

Previously they had had to collect written orders there, but they now receive these automatically on their smartphone or tablet via the ‘Smile app’. CTD has received an award from the Hamburg Environmental Partnership for the CO2 savings here. Smile stands for “Smart Last Mile Logistics“ and is an application that ensures paperless communication.

“With us internally, no pieces of paper are any longer in circulation and in principle we really no longer need the office location – everything meanwhile runs digitally,” adds Pavlovic. Movements clerks and customer service staff only need to be present in person for five days per month, working from home for the rest of the time. Orders from customers run directly into the CTD system. Should any data be missing, the software – supervised by customer service – automates the enquiry from the customer until the required details are complete.

“Drivers seeing to the transfer of boxes need not type anything into the app. They simply photograph the back of the container that displays all the relevant data,” explains Pavlovic. The Smile app can extract all the essential data from the photo. The app also automatically notifies the customers and other persons involved on the status of the order in realtime. Cooperation between drivers, terminals, customers and movement clerks is thus simplified with the aid of the Smile app. In addition, waiting times for truckers have been considerably reduced.