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Every car is scanned

When the ship is then at the pier, like the RoRo carrier "Höegh Trigger" of the Norwegian shipping company Höegh Autoliners on October 2nd, the tally men and women also have plenty to do. Christina Froese stands in front of a wooden booth that protects her from wind and rain and scans every car with a handheld device before it is allowed to drive over the 45-meter-long ramp onto the 8,500 CEU (Car Equivalent Unit) ship with its 14 decks. To this end, BLG Logistics has attached a sticker with a 17-digit barcode to the left-hand side of the windshield. This also contains the tally number, the chassis number of the vehicle and its weight. In addition, Froese also compares the last six digits that the hand scanner shows her with those on the sticker to be on the safe side. At 10:45 a.m., 251 cars were already on board, and Froese had to capture 193 more with her scanner by 2:00 p.m. The cars of various German automobile manufacturers are transported to the ports of Durban (South Africa), Le Port (La Réunion), Port Louis (Mauritius) and Toamasina (Madagascar). The order in which they are driven on board and where they are stowed there is determined by the shipping company's port captain, who is responsible for stowage planning.

Tallys create a stowage plan and manifest

To ensure that the right cargo is loaded onto the right ship, the tallys have to be straight, however. On the other hand, BLG Logistics takes care of the instruction and lashing on the car carrier. The cargo inspectors have an important task here as well: Neumann, as a stowage plan draftsman, has to inspect the vehicles and Mafi trailers that have already been loaded, compare them with his list and then draw exactly where the cargo was stowed on a ship plan. He also notes the number of cars per destination and the so-called average weight of the batch for cars, and also the amount for high and heavy vehicles, but the actual weight. In addition to a three-dimensional imagination, the most important thing is reliable arithmetic, a good sense of proportion and a talent for drawing, because commercial vehicles in particular are not always in straight rows. What Neumann has already drawn in quite accurately with a pencil in his sketch, he then transfers to a final ship plan by drawing it in the office. The prerequisite is that you can write in quite small letters. “Anyone who works as a stowage plan draftsman should be able to write down the ABC on the transverse side of a cigarette packet,” says Neumann. “It couldn't be done faster or better with the computer, and Höegh would also like to receive a handwritten stowage plan from us.” That is also the case with other large shipping companies for which the Tally Service works.

The stowage spaces allocated on board are not always fixed. Due to rebooking or the loss of cargo, the port captain has to change the stowage space for individual vehicles at very short notice from time to time. “We usually receive information about this, but unfortunately sometimes there is not enough time for it, in any case we have to take all changes into account very carefully,” reports Neumann. So he has to keep an eye on the entire load during the entire loading period, count it again and again and keep an eye on that the actual stowage locations match his sketch. “Sometimes it's really hectic, then you have to stay calm,” says Neumann. Today it is not certain whether the customs formalities for export can be completed in time for nine cars that were booked at very short notice. Should these have been driven on board in the afternoon, when the loading for cars has actually already been completed and the ramp is reserved for high and heavy vehicles, Neumann will have to update his sketch again at short notice. He's used to the hustle and bustle, however: "I drive back and forth between our office and the terminal up to ten times a day anyway." Normally, Neumann, as the stowage plan draftsman, brings the sketch and the manifest in good time before the ship departs for the complete load on board. (cb)

This article comes from the December issue of Logistics Pilot magazine, published by bremenports.

Further information on the logistics location Bremen and Bremerhaven is available here or from Andreas Born, Innovation Manager Maritime Cluster Northern Germany and Industry 4.0, Tel. 0421 361-32171, [email protected]