The pilot project will start early this year to test the technology’s operational reliability in automated container handling and to validate the technology’s viability for future business opportunities. It is a joint project between HHLA Next, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s innovation unit, Munich-based start-up FERNRIDE, HHLA International and HHLA TK Estonia.
From remote-controlled vehicles towards autonomous functions
The technology start-up FERNRIDE will equip trucks and tractor units at the Muuga port terminal with sensors and cameras to be remote-controlled via mobile networks.
Teleoperators at a computer workstation that resembles a vehicle cockpit take remote control of the vehicles. The teleoperator receives and sends targeted commands in real-time by controlling the gas pedal, brakes, steering wheel and joystick. FERNRIDE’s algorithms can be further trained using data from real-life operations to roll out additional autonomous functions.
More flexibility for truck drivers
Truck drivers can be more flexibly deployed through the use of this new technology, which has a positive impact on operating procedures. In addition, the option to work remotely increases the attractiveness of the job profile and safety on the respective premises.
According to Philip Sweens, Managing Director of HHLA International, partnering with FERNRIDE and starting joint operations in Harju County, near Tallinn helps HHLA explore new opportunities and to create workflows at the international terminals that are future-oriented and sustainable.
Ideal partners for scaling new technology
Martin Isik, the Chief Communications Officer of FERNRIDE, added that the basis for series development and the adaptation of the solution to container logistics would be undertaken. „We will use our gradual automation approach to demonstrate the high value proposition of the FERNRIDE platform for customers at container terminals,“ Isik said. „Thanks to HHLA International, we have also found the ideal partner for rapid scaling in the European region.”
In the Estonian seaport of Muuga, near the capital Tallinn, HHLA operates the multipurpose terminal HHLA TK (Transiidikeskus) Estonia. As the market leader in container handling in Estonia, the company also handles general, bulk and ro-ro cargo.
Estonia was chosen because of its stability and ease of doing business
“HLLA shows a good example of how international collaboration can work successfully and how Estonia and Germany can both benefit. As a result of the cooperation and connection of the strengths of both regions, the value chain and competitiveness is increased,” said Riina Leminsky, the Director of Business Development in Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the Estonian Investment Agency. “In addition, Estonia’s expertise in digitalisation in all aspects, in line with the aspirations of HHLA, provides an excellent opportunity to test new ideas in a digitally-minded and positive environment before being implemented in other terminals.”
HHLA bought Estonian container terminal operator Transiidikeskuse AS from businessman Anatoli Kanajev. The contract was signed in March 2018, and a smooth transition process, supported by the previous owner, was completed in only six months.
Many aspects made HHLA’s decision to come to Estonia easy: the political climate in Estonia is positive – the relationships with key authorities are excellent, uncomplicated and forward-looking. Another aspect is the ease of doing business – there is little bureaucracy, and the taxation system is simple and advantageous. “One of HHLA’s targets is to grow internationally. Estonia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe and a pioneer in digitalisation. We are therefore pleased to integrate Transiidikeskuse AS, already a profitable and high-performing company, into the HHLA family,” the CEO of HHLA, Angela Titzrath, said back in 2019.
HHLA aims to be a gateway to the future by offering its customers the best way to transport their goods safely, quickly and efficiently.
HHLA Group is one of the leading port logistics providers in Europe, using state-of-the-art handling technology, innovative IT systems and a high level of automation, as well as providing a very dense rail network linking major European ports to CEE, operating highly-efficient shuttle trains and inland terminals, and connecting transport and data streams. Their vision is to become a hub of logistical and digital innovation.