Cross Chain Control Collaboration (4C)

Impact of innovation in the chemical industry

An interview with Joep Aerts, Group ICT Director at Den Hartogh Logistics.

The chemical industry in the Netherlands accounts for about 10% of all transport. With a load factor of 60% it is far from efficient. It is the objective of 4C4CHEM to achieve a higher yield from this chemical logistics supply chain. The means to achieve this is horizontal and vertical cooperation. Three innovations are being examined: the short-term coordination of on- and off-site logistics, redefining raw material flows and bundling transport flows. Den Hartogh Logistics is participating as one of the larger transporters of liquid chemicals.

Subtitle On-site logistics
Joep Aerts: “Den Hartogh has a long history of on-site logistics solutions. In 4C4CHEM, strategies have been developed for the improvement of logistics coordination in chemicals. The new models have been developed into tools and tested in pilots. Now we can quantify what is most cost effective for the shipper, transporter and the on-site operator. We are also better able to analyse the on-site logistics and discuss them with the customer.”

Subtitle New business plans
New business plans are being developed for the redefinition of raw material flows. A good example is the virtual combination of raw materials like styrene, benzene and propylene for transport via sea, inland waterway and road. Aerts: “It has appeared that many business plans are not yet suitable for implementation. We first need to improve them, using primary data.”

Subtitle Synchromodal transport
The bundling of transport flows through a modal shift has been examined in a feasibility analysis. The analysis demonstrates that there are opportunities for inland shipping hubs where goods can be bundled. In a pilot, Den Hartogh, Dow and Shell have applied this approach. They now jointly transport liquid chemical containers by inland shipping, examining the conditions for efficient inland shipping. Aerts: “It looks very promising; inland shipping is an attractive alternative for certain raw materials. This brings us one step closer to the realization of synchromodal transport.”


  • New business case for virtual pooling of raw materials in traditional transport. Potential cost reduction of 10% and COâ‚‚ emission reduction of 19%.
  • Software tool for sensitivity analysis or scenario calculation for extra raw materials.
  • Implementation of new concepts.
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