On the 18th of November, the Rotterdam Port Authority (HBR) and ICT Group signed a contract for QA and testing related to the integration of the systems that support the planned construction of the Container Exchange Route (CER).

The CER is part of an entirely new, advanced and unique concept introduced by the Rotterdam Port Authority – a concept that also includes deep sea terminals, inland navigation / feeder terminals, empty depots, State Inspectorate Terminal (RIT) and distribution centres. It comprises specific infrastructure, logistic agreements and IT systems that connect the port’s terminals, empty depots, RIT and distribution centres. It is expected that ultimately the Container Exchange Route will be used by an annual volume of more than one million containers. Implementation of the CER will create more docking capacity for the container terminals at the Maasvlakte. The CER-project is scheduled to be operational by 2021.

From a technical perspective, the CER IT landscape consists of a platform, planning & scheduling software, gate operating software and visual gates, which need to be interconnected with various applications of organisations and systems such as container terminals and the Port Community System (Portbase). ICT Group is responsible for the application integration and testing of this complex IT landscape.

Port Logistics Competence Centre

Bart Overgaauw, business unit manager Transport & Logistics at ICT Group believes that this project suits ICT Group down to the ground. ‘We have been working for various container terminals in the port of Rotterdam, including ECT, for thirty years. We know the port’s processes and systems. Internally we have bundled this expertise in a Port Logistics Competence Centre. In addition we have experience with complex integration processes and are a market leader when it comes to test automation. What’s more, we have a vast amount of expertise in industries related to the port, for instance railway transport and the automotive industry. This allows us to smoothly involve additional expertise when this is required.’

Robin Audenaerdt, Technical Manager CER Systems for the Port Authority, adds: “The CER project team works according to a strict project methodology and the related project plan. An important, if not the most important success factor of the CER-systems is timely testing of the interfaces and the integral operation of the entire concept. And this is the reason why we are starting with integration tests at an early stage of the project to make sure that quality increases and no time is wasted unnecessarily.” Arno van Amerom, QA Manager CER for the Port Authority: ICT Group has demonstrated a huge amount of relevant experience in complex IT landscapes in which applications from multiple organisations, including ProRail, exchange data. This makes us confident that we will successfully complete this project.”

The contract was awarded after the Rotterdam Port Authority had selected three parties based on references from similar projects. In addition to a proposal, all parties also had to submit a project plan and a team plan. The team plan describes how the contractor ensures that the right specialized expertise and skills are made available to the project at the right moment. ICT Group scored the maximum number of points in both areas.

The construction of the physical infrastructure – the CER Route– has already started, and the contract for the planning & scheduling software has also been awarded. The application integration and testing phase is currently being started, including real life testing in ICT Group’s own test environment, in preparation of the CER’s deployment in 2021.

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