Transuniverse, together with Quares (property) and Peripass (yard management solutions), is working on a totally new truck zone concept, the ‘gate hub’. The secure zone near the Kluizendok in North Sea Port would be used by various logistics companies as a joint truck park where formalities are also dealt with, physical and document checks are carried out, and so on.
More and more logistics companies are settling in the Ghent part of North Sea Port. Transport and logistics activities are also growing in the neighbouring municipalities, such as Wondelgem, where Transuniverse is based. This means that truck traffic in the region will grow dramatically and that the need for proper truck parking spaces will increase.
“The gate hub concept that we are developing is based on the clustering of those trucks in a single zone where they can not only park – to take their statutory breaks – but can also wait their turn to report to the loading and unloading bays of the participating companies. Checks and formalities can also be carried out there. This will mean that companies can optimise their operations and utilise their space better, for example by avoiding a queue of trucks at their own gate waiting to be loaded or unloaded,” says Transuniverse Director Michel Nierinck.
This clustering also makes it possible to reduce staffing costs by bundling certain tasks. A truck would only be sent through if the basic paperwork had been done, the vehicle had been checked, the loading dock in the warehouse was available or the load was ready. Clustering services for different companies also opens up opportunities for the automation and digitalisation of the processes in the traffic to and from the loading and unloading bays.
The location of the hub would be a 6-hectare zone at the entrance to Kluizendok that cannot be considered for the construction of a warehouse due to its odd shape. The most visible part of the gate hub would be the secure parking area for 250 trucks. Options being studied are facilities for drivers, a truck wash, a weighbridge and a filling station.
On the drawing board
“The project is still on the drawing board. The legal, financial and operational contours have not yet been fully laid down. The door is still open for additional partners who might be interested in joining us,” says Nierinck. To develop the concept, Transuniverse, Quares and Peripass have received an R&D subsidy of 500,000 euros from the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO).
“Before the end of this year we should be able to see whether we can pull off this project, what it costs and who is prepared to invest with us. If the concept is feasible, we can start the procedures for the creation of the gate hub. Our aim is to be operational in 2023,” Nierinck concludes.