Container transport efficiency in the Port of Bilbao

Progeco's fleet of trucks container pick up and delivery analysis

We were very interested in knowing the statistic mode of the container transport time, and how often the mode is distorted due to operative challenges. After collecting and analyzing data with Shellock we gained the insights we were looking for with their very user-friendly solution”

Eduardo Telleria, Controller of Progeco Bilbao

Background of the project

With the goal of measuring the container transport efficiency we underwent a partnership with Progeco Bilbao. Progeco is based in Bilbao and offers logistics, transport and warehousing services in the region. We collaborated as part of the Ports 4.0 program run by the Spanish Ports Authority for the digitalization of the ports ecosystem. With their facilities located near to the terminal at the Port of Bilbao, their main area of operations focuses on transporting goods during the first and last mile between the warehouses, the port terminal and the hinterland. From Bilbao, they serve the transport needs of regional as well as international companies.

The main challenge: lack of visibility

The problem that Progeco was facing was that it lacked knowledge about the exact amount of time it was taking for their trucks to transport the cargo during the various stages between the warehouses and the terminal. They needed objective data that could be used to understand their current performance, where were the bottlenecks if any, and in what areas they could improve and make their operations more efficient.

 

In order to tackle and solve this problem, we provided Progeco with various eShells which were attached to their trucks. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the data that was being received, it was agreed that the eShell’s would be placed in different areas within the cab of the trucks to measure whether the signal differed depending on this. Once installed, the signal was validated and everything was properly configured.

 

These trucks focus on the transit between the terminal of the Port of Bilbao, and their warehouses in the port area. We defined four areas within the trucks’ recurrent journeys to delimit and identify the transport efficiency in such zones. Having the trucks tracked gave statistical data about how long each truck spent in each section of the transit.

Collecting and analyzing data

Before starting with the actual project, the Progeco team wanted to conduct a quick trial of the tracking capabilities. A first-mile transport of cargo was then tracked from Bizkaia to Santander, where the cargo was then loaded on a ship for maritime shipping. The truck then returned to the base in the Port of Bilbao. During this journey to Santander, the reliability and accuracy of the data, as well as the solution to Progeco’s accurate information challenge, were tested in a real-world situation. The provided data by the eShell proved itself reliable as it consistently delivered the wanted measurements in their work environment.

Container transport tracking in the last mile from the Port of Bilbao
First trial tracking a container transport

After that successful first trial with our solution, we started tracking the trucks performance in their port journeys. We collected data for close to three months. To have the complete overview of the transport dynamics, it was important to have significant data that represented the normal workweek, specific peak days, as well as vacations days. With the defined timeframe we were able to gather and process data from different scenarios.

 

During the tracking of the trucks between the warehouses and the terminal, it was noticed that there are various reasons why the trucks would experience delayed entry, and where those waiting times were produced. This context and insight was valuable to determine with factual data the current efficiency of their transports, and how much the utilization of the trucks could be improved. Although there is little that can be done about the time the truck sits inside a warehouse or is parked, there are some opportunities to better coordinate the voyages and reduce the amount of time the truck spends waiting to enter the terminal. In some extreme cases and due to a number of reasons we identified one truck which averaged more than 90 minutes per day waiting to enter. 

Outcome of measuring the container transport efficiency

Shellock’s eShell was able to provide the solution to the operational efficiency challenge. Shellock enabled Progeco to understand at what stages of their operations there were inefficiencies and what were the underlying causes of it. It was identified that if the found issues could be fixed, the trucks could improve their performance on average by 40%, and the most inefficient truck could improve it by as much as 65%. From the moment the eShells were placed in their trucks, an operation that took the team just a few seconds, the Progeco team were able to gain visibility and transparency on their shipments instantly to improve their efficiency with accurate data.

Areas defined in the Port of Bilbao for container transport efficiency tracking
Port of Bilbao and Progeco's key transport areas