More than enough water, roads and air in the Netherlands! Our excellent accessibility makes our country ideal for transport companies. We even refer to ourselves as ‘The Gateway to Europe’. The logistics sector comprises many companies involved in the import and export of the widest possible range of goods products. One of these transport companies is Gate terminal. What does this company do? And what has CREON done for Gate terminal?
Europe’s LNG hub
Have you ever heard of LNG? The abbreviation stands for Liquefied Natural Gas. This is a clear, colourless liquid that develops by cooling natural gas to -162 °C. LNG is 600 times less voluminous than ordinary natural gas, enabling it to be stored and transported more efficiently. Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels and provides a sustainable alternative to oil. The biggest advantage of converting natural gas into LNG is no pipelines need be laid for long distances. Gate terminal is involved in the transport of LNG. The company is the LNG hub for Europe. Tankers of LNG arrive to provide natural gas to the Netherlands and North-Western Europe. LNG is stored, converted into natural gas and subsequently distributed to households and industry from the import terminal on the Maasvlakte near Rotterdam (NL).
The transhipment and transport of LNG continues 24/7. The process is monitored in Gate terminal’s control room. The latter is the organisation’s pride and joy, and provides an overview of all the processes. There are some 153 cameras around the plant. These are monitored and controlled from the control room. The cameras can all be operated individually. Action can be taken as soon as an incident occurs. The safety requirements are extremely high. For instance, a back-up system, powered by an emergency generator, takes over – should a power cut occur – to safeguard the continuity of all processes.
A future-proof control room
The terminal Gate terminal moved to some 10 years ago, was a turn-key project: everything was delivered ready-made, including the control room. However, the latter no longer met contemporary ergonomic requirements such as, for example, height adjustable desks. Upon restructuring the control room, Gate terminal wanted to enable higher operator workstation occupancy. “So far, we used a single Panel Operator, however, the more we expand, the more Panel Operators will work in the control room simultaneously. Moreover, we wanted to prepare for the future,” explains Alex Loemij. Alex is Gate terminal’s operations supervisor. As the Shift Supervisor it was his job to make the control room future-proof. “A complex project that Gate terminal allowed me to manage. I loved it. It was a great project!”
The first step of the project was to draw up a concept on the basis of an ergonomic design analysis. A good impression of various solutions was provided using three different 3D visualisations of both the entire control room and the individual workstations. We based ourselves on end user needs: how would the operators prefer to work? CREON developed the 24/7 workstations in conjunction with Jan Kokken from ergonomic consultants HTDS. Both the workstations, the video walls and all the other interior elements now meet contemporary ergonomic requirements.
Gate terminal wanted a single contact for the project; a party who could take care of everything. Edwin Meeuwissen from INTER coordinated the project from start to finish. The AV specialist consulted on the number of monitors and their layout. After all, it is crucial for the right information to be provided in the right place.
It’s all about the details
“I get a kick out of everything being completed according to schedule and all the details being right. I am a bit of a control freak,” admits Alex. “The guys at CREON know what they are doing. When the old control room was dismantled they knew exactly where and how to place all the parts so they could subsequently re-assemble them in the right position in the new control room. Everything CREON did demonstrated they are completely in control of their own affairs.” Although the project, including all the preparations, took some three years, the actual transition to the new control room only took two weeks. “The end result is exactly what I envisaged. Which makes me extremely happy! It’s all about the details when creating an optimum working environment and we managed to get everything right.”