Foundation of the Feeder Logistics Center (FLC) project

The idea for a central coordination of feeder ships in the Port of Hamburg originated in the project department of the Container Terminal Tollerort. By centralizing information of all container terminals, terminal capacity utilization was planned to be improved in order to speed up the rotation of the feeder ships at the same time. EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg was on board as a project partner right from the start, as was Unifeeder A/S.

At the beginning of our project, the most important tools for coordination were pencils, erasers and the telephone. All data were collected and processed manually. However, the idea of a digital information platform, today's HVCC system, already took shape back then.


Foundation of Feeder Logistics Center GmbH

In 2009, FLC was established as a spin off from the CTT project department and transformed into an independent "GmbH" with the two shareholders HHLA (66%) and EUROGATE Container Terminal Hamburg (34%). This globally unique shareholder structure still exists today and is the foundation of our collaborative way of thinking and working.


Commissioning of the PRISE system

The Port-River Information System Elbe (PRISE) was put into operation in 2012. This project by HHLA and EUROGATE aimed to share data transparently in the port and in particular to digitize the berth registration of the terminals. Partners such as public authorities (Hamburg Port Authority AöR, pilots, customs, or Water Police) still benefit from this data platform today, as do nautical service providers (tug boat operators, mooring companies, and ship chandlers). The technical software implementation and operation is still taken care of by DAKOSY AG.


Foundation of HVCC GmbH and start of own software development

As a result of the successful development of the Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC), the company name Feeder Logistik Zentrale GmbH was no longer suitable to the expanded business purpose. FLC therefore became HVCC Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center GmbH in 2015 (with the two departments of FLC and NTC). All types of cargo related vessel traffic were included.

In the same year, the extensive software development based on HVCC's operational processes started. Since then, in close cooperation with DAKOSY AG, internal HVCC processes have been digitalized and partially automated. External partners have been connected to the systems via interfaces or HVCC dashboards. New development projects have been initiated with partners to continuously improve the software.


Launch for the Nautical Terminal Coordination (NTC)

Based on the experience of the FLC, a project for large vessel early-on-coordination was launched in 2013. There were two reasons for this: The significant development in ship size and the subsequent increase of restrictions on vessels passing on the Lower Elbe. The aim was to transfer the decentralized planning of large vessel arrivals to a central intercompany unit. In this operational role, the NTC works closely with the public authorities, e.g. the harbour master´s department of the Hamburg Port Authority AöR - also a unique public-private partnership. The cooperation with today's HVCC department NTC is open to all terminals in the Port of Hamburg, e.g. Hansaport and Unikai have been close partners from the beginning.

Many processes and ideas were adopted from aviation such as the Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) concept. Today, this is a separate discipline in the maritime transport and port industry under the name of Port Collaborative Decision Making (P-CDM). The HVCC is frequently referenced as blueprint for such collaboration.


IHATEC funding for the HVCC

With the funding program for Innovative Port Technologies (IHATEC), the Federal Ministry of Digitalization and Transport supports research and development projects. These projects contribute to the development or adaptation of innovative technologies in German sea and inland ports. In 2018, the HVCC received funding from this program for further development and partner integration of the system, in particular, for the development of today's customized HVCC dashboards. They can be accessed by terminals, shipping companies, service providers and public authorities based on an authorization concept. For example, the PRISE system is now a module in the modular system of the HVCC port collaboration platform.

Here, two additional interfaces have been created. This first interface is a bidirectional connection to the operations system of a shipping company (Unifeeder A/S) to further optimize the feeder coordination. The second interface is a bidirectional connection with a port (Rotterdam) to further optimize the vessel arrival planning of large ships.


Development of the HVCC inland vessel platform and transfer of PRISE

As a user, the HVCC has continuously triggered development changes for new functions and processes around the PRISE system. Therefore, the system was transferred to the ownership of HVCC in 2019. It is still an important central data center for many further developments. In the same year, the HVCC received funding from the Hamburg Ministry of Economics and Innovation (BWI) to develop further functions for the efficient integration of inland waterway transport into the HVCC Port Collaboration Platform.


Proof of concept for innovative ship-port communication

In 2020, HVCC and Wärtsilä, together with Carnival Maritime, presented a Proof of Concept. In this project the recommendations of ship arrivals in the German Bight (the so-called Requested Time of Arrival, RTA for short) were transmitted directly from the HVCC system to the carriers shore organization and from there (after approval) to the ship's Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). The project involved communicating with several AIDA ships digitally and without any manual interruptions during a vessel’s arrival - a worldwide innovative ship-port digitalization communication project.


Pilot project with the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA)

In 2021, the HVCC, together with the Hamburg Port Authority AöR and the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), carried out the world's first pilot for a "digital handshake" between carriers, terminals and port authorities. Different standardized time stamps were shared transparently. Based on the findings of the pilot project, the DCSA developed the Just-In-Time Port Call and Operational Vessel Schedule standard. The Operational Vessel Schedule standard is now fully implemented in the HVCC systems and offers carriers the option of transmitting their coastal schedules digitally to HVCC and the port stakeholders of Hamburg digitally.


Completion of preliminary study Digital Outer Weser

In cooperation with EUROGATE and Bremenports and under the technical project management of HPC Hamburg Port Consulting, HVCC presented the results of a preliminary study on the potential of digitizing coordination processes on the Outer Weser in 2023. This study highlights the procedural and operational added value of digitizing the coordinative processes in ship arrival coordination at other vessel navigation territories.