05.07.17

Katoen Natie close to start operating its first autonomous truck in Singapore

The first Katoen Natie autonomous truck in Singapore will be operational this September and will thereafter undergo testing for three months, confirms Koen Cardon, CEO of Katoen Natie Singapore.

If the POC (Proof Of Concept) is successful, eleven more Katoen Natie trucks will be equipped with autonomous driving technology.  Elsewhere in the world, including in Europe, experiments by several companies with autonomous trucks have been advanced to implementation stage. There are three phases in the Katoen Natie Singapore development project.  At each stage, the environment and the required technology becomes more complex and challenging.  Phase one of the projects is to operate twelve autonomous trucks in an enclosed area of a petrochemical plant.  “In that phase, trucks are being guided based on transponders installed in the designated driveways” said Koen Cardon, who gave the opening lecture at the Mission of Belgian startup companies (Startups.be) in the Southeast Asia City state.

In the second phase, the transponder system will be replaced by a GPRS system to operate the autonomous trucks within the Jurong Island industrial site. The third and most challenging phase is the introduction of autonomous truck technology on the public road outside the industrial area.
”Truck drivers are hard to find in Singapore.  Most of them are over fifty years old and young people have no desire to become a truck driver.”
Katoen Natie is the pioneer of this Singapore Autonomous Truck project and entered into collaboration with the Singapore Management University for the market study of autonomous technology.

Katoen Natie did select the Dutch VDL group as the technology partner for this project.  “They are establishing an innovation center in Singapore and are very ambitious here,” says the CEO of Katoen Natie Singapore. “Furthermore VDL has already successfully implemented similar projects in Europe.”
Another very important partner in this Autonomous truck Project is the Singaporean government. This project is strongly supported by the Singapore government as it is in line with the Singapore vision to be at the forefront of innovation and automation.

According to Koen Cardon, the government currently has four projects for autonomous vehicles in the pipeline: an autonomous car, a bus, the Katoen Natie project and, last but not least the new Tuas Port project where all transport and container handling will be autonomous.  “We are very proud as Katoen Natie to be one of the Innovation Partners in Singapore” says Koen Cardon.
“Autonomous trucks can bring very substantial savings. To operate twelve trucks 24 hours a day and seven days a week, you need four teams of 12 drivers. These drivers will not all be made redundant, but can be assigned to other job functions in our company.   With limited availability of trucks drivers in Singapore, moving to autonomous transport is the right path forward. We need a system where transport is more automated. ”

If the autonomous truck project is successful in Singapore, does Antwerp follow?  Koen Cardon is careful: “First, let’s focus on making the project successful in Singapore.  We must be very careful not to create too much complexity.”  The CEO explains that it is not that straightforward to duplicate the project elsewhere.  “In Antwerp, for example, the environment is different.   You need to take into account the different weather conditions, snow for example.  You also have a different framework of cooperation with the unions and government authorities in every region whereby it is important to reach consensus with all stakeholders.   The conditions can be different by country but the key is the technology and Singapore is the right place to introduce innovative solutions. “

Other news articles

  • 01.04.19
    Katoen Natie announces major investments in the Netherlands
    Chemelot Covering an area of over 800 hectares, the Chemelot site is one of the major chemical hubs in Europe and has been expanding in recent years. The integrated cluster of companies produces a variety of chemicals and performance plastics for a wide range of markets and applications. Chemelot also hosts a research campus, with over 8,000 people working on-site. Katoen Natie investments Since 2013, Katoen Natie has acquired a number of logistics terminals in Limburg. Its sites in Nuth, Born, Geleen, Elsloo, Tüddern and Maasmechelen currently employ 250 people. With the expansion, Katoen Natie will anchor its strategic presence in the region. Central to the investment is a 12 hectare green field project on the Chemelot site. Here, Katoen Natie will build a brand new multi-customer terminal consisting of 54,500 m² state-of-the-art warehouse and 207 silos. Aside from warehousing operations, Katoen Natie will offer a full range value-added services including repackaging of chemicals, purifying of contaminated products, compounding and compacting services. The Chemelot terminal is expected to be operational in Q2, 2020. In addition to the investments on-site, Katoen Natie will expand its Nuth logistics terminal with 10,000 m² of warehouse space and 60 silos expected to be operational by the end of 2019. Another plot of land was acquired at Mitsubishi Avenue in Born, where Katoen Natie will construct and operate a 35,000m² warehouse to service the automotive industry. Investments in the local transport capacity will continue over the next year. With the purchase of 115 new lorries, 45 dry bulk trailers and 10 liquid bulk trailers the existing fleet will be renewed and expanded. Gateway to Central and Eastern Europe Aside from their proximity to Chemelot, the Katoen Natie terminals in Limburg are located just a few kilometers from the Belgian and German border. This strategic location, close to the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam and with easy rail and water access, make them an ideal stepping-stone for import flows into the Ruhr area and Eastern Europe. With this expansion, Katoen Natie affirms its position as the leading logistics and industrial services provider for the chemical industry in Europe. The implantation of its logistics platform on the Chemelot site will produce significant transport savings for Katoen Natie’s existing customers and reduce overall CO₂-emissions. In total, the 100,000 m² of added warehouse capacity and value-added logistics operations will create 75 new full time jobs in the region. Katoen Natie Katoen Natie is a private Flemish enterprise and its activities consist of value add logistical services with activities in 30 countries and more than 13.000 employees. For more about Katoen Natie go to https://www.katoennatie.com/who-we-are/
    Read more
  • 04.01.18
    Construction of six wind turbines at Katoen Natie, Loghidden City, Kallo
    Katoen Natie recently developed a 216 hectare site into an active logistics park. The area is used as a 23 MW PV plant, and now has six wind turbines with a height of 185 meters each on the limited available surface. Contribution to a sustainable environment The turbines, with a total installed capacity of 19 MW, generate about 52 GWh per year. This comes down to the yearly electricity consumption of 13.000 households. In combination with the solar panels, Katoen Natie utilizes its assets as sustainable as possible, contributing to limit CO2 emission and helping to achieve the climate targets. Partnerships in creating green energy In order to exploit a wind farm, a strict 24/7 follow-up by highly trained people and highly professional equipment is required. There we found a partnership with EDF Luminus, who is the largest windmill constructor in Belgium. Together with their manufacturer, they built six high-tech wind turbines on Loghidden City. This project is EDF Luminus’ largest one ever executed on an industrial site. A challenge One of the key requirements was to keep the site operational during the construction period. The terminal is very active, as hundreds of trucks are loaded and unloaded every day. In order to meet this requirement the largest components were delivered only just in time, and were transported during night on trailers of up to 66 meters long. In addition, the wind turbine foundations are located very close to the warehouses, which causes the least obstruction. Inauguration On December 14 2017, Deputy prime minister and minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters inaugurated the six windturbines. Watch the video: construction of wind turbines at Katoen Natie Kallo
    Read more
  • 01.12.17
    Katoen Natie breaks ground on Dallas plastic packaging facility
    Warehouse space with railroad access Upon start-up, the facility will have at least 250,000 square feet of warehouse space that may expand to up to 2.5MM square feet of space as warranted by market conditions. The space will have direct railroad acces, served by Union Pacific. Scheduled for completion in the third quarter 2018, this facility will become Katoen Natie's 20th NAFTA location. Producers will ship bulk railcars of plastic resin pellets to the warehouse where the pellets will be packaged and loaded into intermodal containers. After a short trip to the adjacent intermodal terminal, Union Pacific's Dallas to Dock service will transport the containers to ocean ports via premium intermodal service. Container availability "We are committed to providing service solutions to the petrochemical industry", said Kenny Rocker, Union Pacific Vice President & General Manager - Industrial. "Katoen Natie's Dallas location alligns with container availability, a core need of our customer base. From Dallas, Union Pacific's premium intermodal services deliver to the West Coast where producers are able to export to global destinations." "The Dallas facility will assist our customers in diversifying their export channels to global markets", said Frank Vingerhoets, President of Katoen Natie USA. Read more about it here
    Read more
  • 17.11.17
    Katoen Natie and Allied launch SuperTruck concept in Singapore
    Katoen Natie and Allied are launching its SuperTruck concept in Singapore for transport between chemical plants, our own logistics terminal and Singapore container terminals. We will introduce SuperTrucks that carry two 40 foot or four 20 foot containers. Transport solutions of the future Katoen Natie Singapore chief executive Koen Cardon highlights; “ We are continuously looking for innovative and new solutions to optimize our logistics operations. We work with our business partners to introduce new solutions to increase productivity and efficiency. We have been working closely with Allied to implement this SuperTruck concept whereby they have demonstrated entrepreneurship and innovative thinking.   Shortage of drivers is a real challenge in Singapore and we need such innovative solutions to address this." Lim Kian Chin, chief executive of Allied ; “ We have been servicing Katoen Natie in Singapore for more than a decade and highly value the partnership with them as they continue to work with us on improving the service level and solutions. It is important that we work on the transport solutions of the future. “ Andrew McKeown, Katoen Natie ISO Tank Operations regional manager commented, “When it comes to innovation, the execution is far more valuable than theory alone. We must be bold and look to deliver value. Partners such as Allied and the Singapore Government allow us just that in our journey to service our customers better and all be prepared for future growth.” Innovation projects Katoen Natie and Allied are working with the Singapore Government Authorities on the certifications and operational framework for the SuperTruck. Koen Cardon; “This is one of the many innovation projects we are currently working on. Katoen Natie has a strong engineering division in material handling solutions what allows us to be at the forefront in innovation.” Katoen Natie launched in October 2017 the first driverless truck in Singapore and is looking to expand the fleet of driverless vehicles. Find out what Katoen Natie can do for your business.
    Read more
Load more