Paperless Container Terminals

Container terminals are increasingly opting for the digital highway
More and more container terminals, like Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) and APM Terminal MVII, are asking customs documents for import, export and transit to be logged electronically. In fact, it has been mandatory to digitally register customs documents at Maasvlakte 2 since 1 November, 2014. Both RWG and APM Terminals MVII will no longer be using a terminal desk. It is thus physically impossible to submit paper-based export documents. And Maasvlakte 1 is expected to soon follow in the footsteps of Maasvlakte 2 by introducing this new approach.

Electronic declaration via Portbase
Electronic declaration via RWG and APM Terminal MVII can be done via the Port Community System (Port Base). Portbase VVT

Impact of electronic declaration on the logistical process
The whole ‘advance reporting process’ is automated and paperless. This means carriers no longer receive physical documents and arrive at the forwarder without documents. In practice, forwarders appear to be unaware of the new approach, which causes delays in the process. In the past, carriers had resolved this problem by faxing documents to the driver. However, due to the new paperless approach, faxes are no longer accepted at terminals. As a matter of fact, terminal counters have been abolished, which means faxes cannot be sent to drivers.

Advantages of paperless terminals:

  • Each year the new simplified procedure saves a stack of paper measuring approximately 750 meters. If exporters or forwarders use Portbase to sign-in for shipment in advance, transportation to the port can take place without a sheet of paper being involved;
  • you can send an e-mail to report your customs documents to the container terminal in advance;
  • link to the Export Control Custom system: automatic 'Arrival and Exit' notification. Your administration activities and your import and export declaration will be handled correctly;
  • it saves you a lot of time and money.

Our advice: also send (customs) documents to your customers via e-mail
The "new" digital approach means cargo is delivered without traditional documents at loading and unloading addresses. To make the logistical process as efficient as possible, the forwarder should be connected to the paperless process and documents should be delivered digitally. This will allow the process to flow without delays and logistical costs. So, from now on, we recommend emailing these documents to your customers, so they can be digitally transmitted to the terminal. Your customers can then also join the paperless process.

Would you like further information?
Would you like to know more about these so-called paperless container terminals? Please don’t hesitate to contact Janet Vermeulen at V.V.T. Europe:
0031 (0) 418 570 147. Or send an email with your questions to