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ECT hopes to extend its fixed windows barge pilot into a paid Premium Service

Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam, as ECT now calls itself, is extending the pilot with fixed windows for inland barges that offer a large per terminal call size

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The pilot, which started in January this year, is a success, ECT says, adding that it will therefore be enhanced and move into its second phase. Container barge congestion has been dogging Rotterdam for years on end now.


Speaking to WorldCargo News, ECT said that six barge operators co-operating in three consortia have been calling at the company’s terminals with a minimum 200 moves for the Delta Peninsula’s terminals (DDE, DDN and DDW and ECT’s linked barge terminals) and a minimum of 150 moves for the Euromax terminal.


In return, the barge operators enjoyed fixed windows. The six barge operators are HTS Intermodaal, CCT Moerdijk, Barge Terminal Tilburg, Contargo, Haeger & Schmidt and EGS.


Six barge operating interests have joined the scheme, says ECT
Six barge operating interests have joined the scheme, says ECT

ECT would not disclose how many inland container barges or TEU have so far been handled successfully in line with their set windows. The spokesman did say, however, that the pilot’s second phase is likely to see new barge operators join in.


The second phase will feature both tightened and newly added rules of the game, it was said. These will address the question of to what extent the participants will be able to adhere to the agreements over a longer period of time. Also, the new phase will address how deviations are to be dealt with. As a third element, it will be tested whether ‘a more commercial basis to the project will help improve barge container dispatch.’


More precisely, ECT is considering a fixed payment by the barge operator for a Premium Service that the current pilot might eventually evolve into. So far, the transhipment costs for the inland modalities, both import and export, are covered via the deepsea carriers’ terminal contracts, and the pilot – both phase I and II – entails no extra charges.


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