Working in Transport Planning – Planning your own route
Story by Gert van den Brink – Truck Planner – Genemuiden office
In Transport Planning, no two days are the same. Whether you’re creating a new planning, collaborating with colleague planners or visiting drivers in Europe, time flies. When my planning works out well, I consider it a great day.
My life as a Transport Planner
I have been working at Samskip since 2014 as a Truck Planner in Genemuiden. We focus on transport planning for Scandinavia and work closely together with our own terminal in Duisburg. From here, we ship around 150 trailers and containers to Scandinavia each day, divided into seven terminals that we use for our own trains.
I work in a team with three other Truck Planners. Together, we are responsible for the last part of the transport process: transporting the containers from the rail terminal to the customer. In order for us to be successful, we make an estimate of the truck capacity that we need for each terminal every day and send our drivers to the right terminals. As you can imagine, we need to work closely together with other departments and drivers to get all jobs done every single day.
In Riga, there is another planning department we work together with every day. They inform the drivers after we have planned all routes in Genemuiden. We search for the best solutions together.
No two days are the same
Creating optimal plannings can be challenging and stressful; it is like a puzzle. Plannings can be influenced by external factors you cannot control. For example: delays because of rail works, strikes, traffic jams or bad weather conditions. Luckily, we are in it together. We always help each other and try to make it as fun as possible.
On some occasions, we have to work with special equipment. Norway is part of our Scandinavian planning and there are strong regulations for trucks during winter in that country. Our trucks in Norway have winter tires with at least 5mm profiles and special snow chains, and our drivers need to be more experienced. They often show us pictures or short videos of the road conditions.
Terminal Management System
In order to do our jobs well, we use a modern Terminal Management System that shows all relevant information. We can track our trucks live, which enables us to be more flexible and adjust a planning if necessary. The system also shows ETA’s of shipments, train arrival times, the weight of the shipments and if drivers are ADR licensed.
Transport planning is more than just a job
Although I mainly work in Genemuiden, I do get the chance to make work visits. Last year, I went to Sweden together with a colleague from our Riga office. It is not only fun to meet people you are working with on a daily basis; it is also very useful. You get to see and speak to many people you usually only communicate with via Skype, mail or by phone. It is also an opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
We visited the terminal, the customs office and the drivers at the driver’s house in Goteberg. Meeting them gave us the opportunity to review our collaboration and to find out if and how we can optimise our procedures. We saw very positive results from our visit to Sweden: some issues were solved by the time we were back at the office in Genemuiden.
Transport planning is a world-class challenge. I try to plan our trucks to the best of my abilities. There is no such thing as perfect planning, but that is exactly what makes transport planning at Samskip exciting.