The collection and delivery of containers in the seaports presents new challenges to the inland shipping sector on a daily basis. Through Star Flow Intermodal from Yellowstar, intermodal operator neska Container Line has taken into use a highly comprehensive planning board that automates numerous tasks, provides overview, makes it easy to amend the planning and offers peace of mind on the work floor for this purpose. Managing director Hans Buytendijk: “The new system supports all the decisions that are necessary for our operation.”

  • Automatic planning of containers
  • Overview and control over your own operation
  • Optimal data exchange with customers, Portbase and Nextlogic
  • Attractive work environment for planners
  • Prepared for new digital initiatives
  • Scalable with further growth volumes

With Star Flow Intermodal, neska Container Line automatically plans all incoming bookings on the available barge trips. The system does this on the basis of several pre-established parameters. Outbound, these for example include the moment of availability of a container in the hinterland and the cargo opening time of the deepsea terminal. Inbound, the system among other things checks the ETA of the seagoing vessel and the agreed-upon inland delivery to the customer. Buytendijk: “The planning board of Star Flow Intermodal gives us continuous overview. We can see potential bottlenecks at an early stage and we can next anticipate them in a timely manner. Through the deployment of an additional ship, for example, or by consulting with the customer about possible planning changes.”

One integrated system

“All decisions that are necessary for our operation are supported by the new system,” continues Buytendijk. “Our planners work from one screen in that respect. The pre-notification to Portbase and the (upcoming) integrated planning of Nextlogic have been integrated. We no longer need to leave our own environment for this.” Every incoming booking is also automatically sent to Portbase from the planning board for requesting the container status from the terminals. “In turn, we also automatically communicate that information back to the customer, almost in real time. If necessary, they are next able to supplement any missing data in a timely manner. We will only include containers on a loading list that are completely correct.”

Transparency creates flexibility

Due to the ever-changing conditions in the seaports, the planning of ships and containers is and remains a continuous challenge for neska Container Line. Buytendijk calls it a perpetual sliding puzzle. “Just when you think you're done, the picture changes again. Our planners know how to flexibly deal with this. The planning board offers them the support they need in this regard. If the arrival of a seagoing vessel changes, it is immediately clear which containers can still be delivered within the agreed-upon timeframe and which containers require separate action.” If space becomes available aboard a ship, the system also automatically suggests containers that can be alternatively loaded. “Rebooking is a matter of clicking, dragging and done. We no longer have to navigate various scr

Employees are key

For Buytendijk, it is just as import that Star Flow Intermodal makes the work pleasant for the employees. “You don't want your planners to become burned out due to constant pressure, lack of clarity and ad-hoc changes. The new system creates overview, transparency and a certain degree of tranquillity. Our people are able to truly focus on customer expectations, irrespective of any external distractions that may come their way. It is no longer necessary to continuously enter and adjust data manually. They are in control and can go home on time most days.”

Further development together with Yellowstar

Star Flow Intermodal works according to the latest technologies. Thanks to the API link-up with Portbase, information moves back and forth at lightning speed. Together with Yellowstar, neska Container Line will continue to develop. One example is the realisation of a version for the planning of rail transport analogous to the planning board for inland shipping. Buytendijk: “We are ready for further digitisation. Our new system is scalable to accommodate growing volumes and opens up all kinds of perspectives for subsequent connections.”

neska Container Line

With nine to eleven ships, intermodal operator neska Container Line provides transport by barge between six neska inland terminals on the Lower Rhine in Germany and the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Furthermore, three of said inland terminals offer a daily rail connection with Rotterdam. Direct trucking is also among the possibilities. All this transport is organised by more than twenty employees from an office directly on the Maas in Dordrecht. Combined, neska Container Line and the six neska inland terminals on the German Lower Rhine make up neska Intermodal.