Hamburg leads as first German seaport to introduce slot-booking system for container truckers

© HHM / Michael Lindner
Truck handling at container terminals only with pre-allocated time windows

From last month, a time slot-booking system for handling container deliveries and collections by truck will be introduced in all four Hamburg container terminals. Hamburg is the first port in Germany to implement such a system to optimize truck handling. Up to now, ports in the USA and a few terminals in Europe, Far East and Australia, offer a slot-booking system.

With the introduction of this system in Hamburg, and with immediate effect all haulage contractors for container deliveries and collections at HHLA Container Terminals Burchardkai, Altenwerder and Tollerort as well as Eurogate Container Terminal Hamburg, must agree a time window. The trucking planners notify the requested transport time via an EDI interface or slot-booking website to the relevant terminal. If there is enough capacity at the time given – the slot can be booked for the truck.

Each time slot lasts one hour, within which the truck is handled with maximum priority at the container terminal. If the driver misses this slot then he is handled with lower priority, provided there is capacity at the terminal. If the driver comes much later, the slot is lost and he must make a new booking. Hamburg’s slot-booking system is structured so as to offer truckers the highest possible flexibility. Slot cancellations, rebookings or exchanges and additional bookings are possible by agreement with the terminal.

Peak times will be relieved and waiting time reduced

Due to increasing vessels size, more and more large containerships with capacities of over 20,000 TEU call at the Port of Hamburg. This could mean that up to 14,500 TEU are handled in one ship call. This leads to container transport peaks to and from and around the Port of Hamburg. The new slot-booking system should relieve these peaks and spread the truck handling load equally. The aim is to reduce waiting time for trucks and to offer the haulage companies standardized processes at all container terminals and homogeneous information exchange. At the same time the capacity of the terminals is to be increased by optimal use of resources and available infrastructure. The time slot-booking system facilitates transparency and makes planning easier for all those involved in the Port of Hamburg.