Push a button, save your life

It looks ordinary, but APM Terminals expects the Auto-Truck Handling feature at its Maasvlakte II terminal to save lives by turning an inherently dangerous part of the terminal into a safe place to work.

Push a button 2
Truck driver Patrick Barten pushes the button. Photo: Rene Strandbygaard

Maasvlakte II is designed and built to support high-volume data communication

  • 23,500 transponders in the Maasvlakte II terminal.
  • 20 GB data generated per day at Maasvlakte II.
  • 150 terabytes of data storage available at Maasvlakte II.

The interaction of people and machines is when accidents happen in terminals. And while Maasvlakte II is unique and very few people will ever enter the yard, as many as 1,000 truck drivers will pass through the gates each day.

The terminal’s Auto-Truck Handling feature will ensure that truck drivers can do their jobs safely and efficiently.

“Truck drivers are required to leave their trucks at transfer areas in all container terminals,” says Rik Geurtsen, Senior Project Manager for Operations at the new terminal. “But despite the rules there’s never been anything to physically prevent them from staying in the truck or from walking around, which is when serious accidents can happen.”

It keeps us safe

The button changes that. Drivers must exit the truck and go to an intercom-like device to swipe an ID card. To begin loading or unloading a container, they must remain at the device and hold down a button. If they let go the operation stops, ensuring that they remain out of harm’s way.

Patrick Barten is a 26-year-old trucker and fairly new to the trucking business, but he knows from experience in older terminals and stories from older truckers about the dangers of the job. “The button is easy to use, which is important. Accidents happen but we never expect it to be us they happen to, that’s just the way people are. This is good, it keeps us safe.”