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For rail operator DistriRail, a subsidiary of the Van Donge & de Roo Group (D&R), digitalisation forms an important means to maintain and strengthen its competitive position. Over the past few years, the company has made substantial investments in the optimisation of its IT programme. DistriRail recently added its rail schedules to the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s Navigate tool. ‘This makes us easier to find for shippers and freight forwarders.’

DistriRail dispatches a 100-TEU train between Rotterdam and Duisburg six times a week, with a second 100-TEU train running between Rotterdam and Mannheim five times a week. ‘In addition, we send 75 TEU to Italy daily,’ explain DistriRail’s managers Sander and Dennis de Roo. ‘A total of 36 cycles per week.’

Front-runner in digitalisation

Capacity utilisation along DistriRail’s connections has decreased as a result of the Covid crisis. Still, the company looks towards the future with confidence. ‘Thanks in part to our investments in IT, we enjoy a relatively strong position. We’ve made huge strides in digitalisation, and we’re at the head of the pack when it comes to things like eCMR (a digital consignment note) and two-factor authentication. Our network is continuously being monitored in the interest of cyber security. And we keep a close eye on compliancy when it comes to exchanging information with partners and clients. In addition, we keep our staff properly informed about issues like phishing and cybercrime.’

Raising one’s profile

A solid digital foundation helps strengthen your competitive edge. That is why DistriRail has included its train schedules in the Navigate tool. This application presents a visual overview of all deep sea, short sea, rail and inland shipping connections that run via Rotterdam. In addition, parties can use Navigate to check where they can drop off or pick up empty containers. ‘Navigate increases the visibility of our services. Particularly in turbulent times like these, we want to raise our digital profile, so it becomes easier for existing and potential clients to find us. Navigate makes it very easy to call people’s attention to your transport services, terminals and depots. Both for us and for the port of Rotterdam in general, it forms a valuable additional marketing tool that allows you to stand out and be found by other parties.’

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