Vehicles as far as the eye can see: Bremerhaven’s AutoTerminal is Germany’s largest automotive hub. Every year, logistics service provider BLG LOGISTICS moves over two million vehicles through here. The Isabella research project aims to find out how to make the transshipment process even more efficient. One potential solution is to use artificial intelligence.
The working day at AutoTerminal Bremerhaven begins at 6am. That’s when the early shift comes on duty at Germany’s largest vehicle transshipment hub. For first-time visitors, the activity at the site makes for an impressive spectacle. The AutoTerminal is operated by BLG LOGISTICS, covers an area of 240 hectares (larger than 300 football pitches) and has space for around 95,000 vehicles. Every day, 5,000 cars arrive by train alone and have to be moved to their next position at the terminal by BLG drivers.
A week of fieldwork
“Anyone who doesn’t know their way around could easily get lost here,” says Marit Hoffmeyer, a research assistant at BIBA, the Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics at the University of Bremen. She went through the same driver training as all new drivers at the terminal. “It was important to take part in the training and to become familiar with the conditions at the site so that we were able to come up with solutions that will be a perfect fit for the actual situation at one of the largest car terminals in the world,” Hoffmeyer explains. “You also learn the skill of millimetre-perfect parking,” she adds with a laugh. After a week in the field, Hoffmeyer returned to her desk at BIBA, where she is in charge of the Isabella 2.0 research project. In a collaboration between BIBA, BLG LOGISTICS and Bremen software developer 28Apps Software, the project aims to make car transshipment more efficient. The partnership began three years ago with the first Isabella project, which focused on two particular areas.