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Case Study

Port of Rotterdam Gets Smarter with Help from Intelligent Digital Workers

Efficient Digital workers quickly assess correct tax for vessels.
Compliant with local tax regulations
Happy customers Increased customer and employee satisfaction
"We have noticed that automation creates a lot of job satisfaction. Employees have time for their core tasks and can focus on adding as much value as possible to the port business. We also see RPA as a first step towards further intelligent automation.”"
Wouter Hoving RPA Lead

Port Assesses Appropriate Tax for Vessels with Digital Workers

If you live in Europe, everything from the petrol in your car to the muesli on your breakfast table has likely come through the port of Rotterdam. In one year, roughly 30,000 ocean-going vessels and 100,000 inland navigation vessels sailed in and out of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. To maintain its vitality, the port is continuously improving—from maintaining infrastructure to rethinking operational processes—aiming to become the smartest port in the world. To do this, it enlisted a Blue Prism intelligent digital workforce.

Challenge: location data cumbersome to collect

The port of Rotterdam is considered vital infrastructure to the Netherlands. It faced a specific challenge when the Netherlands altered tax legislation relating to shipping. If a vessel spends 70% of its time outside of territorial waters, it is considered a seagoing vessel and the ship owner does not owe value-added tax (VAT). The tax authority now wanted proof, for 30,000 vessels. This would require the Port to reach out to agents for each of its customers with a potentially bothersome request for ship location data.

Solution: digital workers guarantee a smooth and reliable process

Data scientists at the port developed a model based on automatic identification system (AIS) ship location data. The model can calculate how much time a ship has been out of territorial waters. A Blue Prism digital worker can quickly access information for each vessel at port and determine an appropriate VAT rate.

As a result, employees only contact a very limited amount of agents for more information, rather than all of them, improving the customer and employee experience while ensuring the data is accurate. Digital workers are currently operating in seven different departments and running 36 process in HR, finance, shared services, and port operations.

Digital workers have delivered increased efficiency, cost savings and accuracy. Employees have shared their enthusiasm for and satisfaction with their digital colleagues. They are now freed from repetitive tasks and have the opportunity to do work they enjoy like conducting inspections and port maintenance.

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