Who are we: Digitalization at Schiphol Airport


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Who are we:



One of the biggest university of applied sciences in the Netherlands

  • One of the biggest university of applied sciences in the Netherlands

  • > 29.000 students, nine locations

  • Two sections of education geared towards aviation

    • Aeronautical engineering &
    • Airport & aviation (within logistics & economics education)
  • A business research center with 29 research groups all headed by research professor

  • Airport & aviation research section is mainly focused towards cargo logistics



Towards an Integrated Approach of All Compliance Checks in a Speedy and Reliable Process

  • Towards an Integrated Approach of All Compliance Checks in a Speedy and Reliable Process







Project name “eLink”

  • Project name “eLink”

  • Timeframe: 2,5 years from January 1st 2013 through July 1st, 2015

  • Three Phases of research

    • Phase 1: Definition phase and collecting parties
    • Phase 2: Research into the obstacles of the use of eLink (Inholland University)
    • Phase 3: Implement (Inholland)
  • European funding, costs involved €365.000

  • Phase 2: 30 Students; Phase 3: 5 Interns under leadership by one research fellow and research professor







Desk research

  • Desk research

    • Literature
    • Flowcharts
    • Computer simulation techniques
  • Field research

    • Observation of processes
    • Interviews with management and executive staff
    • Participation in knowledge platforms
    • Students take part in the daily execution at a freight forwarder and the six handlers
    • Weekly progress meeting with ACN and Cargonaut










Optimal inflow of cargo at handler:

  • Optimal inflow of cargo at handler:

  • ACN-smart card with detailed cargo data, fully paperless

  • Card reader at the entrance point of handlers area

  • Various electronic controls of cargo at entrance gate

  • Immediate data push ACN-smart card data to WMS ground handler

  • Systematic view & control on arrival cargo, truck & driver



  • Gives access to 10 ground handling companies (mostly 1st line, but increasingly 2nd line)

  • Used by > 300 trucking companies / couriers

  • Digital ID for > 4,000 drivers

  • All with criminal background checks

  • Check on truckers’ Regulated Agent (RA) status





Driver arrives with cargo at the entrance. After scanning ACN-pass via light screen reported:

  • Driver arrives with cargo at the entrance. After scanning ACN-pass via light screen reported:

    • “Proceed to dock xx”
    • “Proceed to service desk”
  • Optimal output by:

    • Disconnecting information from the physical shipment
    • Adequate presence of personnel during delivery time
    • Sufficient capacity of docks
    • Maintain back-up systems
    • Long term: Fully paperless freight








Implementation eLink delivers significant improvements (efficiency and effectiveness) in the handling of export cargo at Schiphol:

  • Implementation eLink delivers significant improvements (efficiency and effectiveness) in the handling of export cargo at Schiphol:

    • Throughput time
    • Waiting time
    • labor costs
    • less error margins and higher integrity of data (increase of RfC deliveries)
    • Better and more sustainable environment (less CO2 and less paper)




Full cooperation of the staff

  • Full cooperation of the staff

  • Sufficient handling capacity at the dock

  • High participation rate of freight forwarders is a necessity

  • Shipments information quality is of the essence

    • Preserve quality of original information
    • Information regarding driver & truck correct
    • Information systems 100% working/reliable


Reliable interface eLink with the WMS-system of ground handler is of the essence

  • Reliable interface eLink with the WMS-system of ground handler is of the essence

  • Redeploy/retrain staff from the documentation department (from check- to service employees)

  • Management of arrivals at the unloading docks

  • Consequences for the layout of various work locations

  • Introduction backup scenarios systems



Further improvements are possible if:

  • Further improvements are possible if:

  • Introduction entrance order system (number at the barrier)

  • Active dock management via digital system

  • Overall planning system for all cargo arrivals at Schiphol airport which makes peak shaving possible

  • Introduction of performance measurement/scorecard

  • Higher participation rate



Digitalization at SPL airport leads to:

  • Digitalization at SPL airport leads to:

  • significant more efficiency and effectiveness

  • resulting in:

    • Faster throughput times,
    • Less queues & less waiting times
    • Higher occupation rates for loading docks personnel & documentation/service desk,
    • Better planning







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