CERTUS customers receive royal visit in the US

On 11th June the King and Queen of the Netherlands led a trade delegation to the US state of Georgia, home to the Port of Savannah and hotspot for many Dutch enterprises. Two of CERTUS’s customers were on the itinerary of the delegation: NewCold and the Georgia Port Authority at the port of Savannah.

Ruben Nadimi, Director of Sales for Gate and Yard Automation for Logistics operations at CERTUS Automation, did not need to think twice when he heard of the plans for the journey. He immediately made some phone calls and assured himself a seat on the plane to the southern state. ‘I mean, what a coincidence, two of our customers were on the programme of this Dutch trade mission! Both Georgia Port Authority (GPA) and NewCold are  using our technology. And above all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to promote our company in such a high-profile event’, he says. 

The US state of Georgia is an important trading partner for the Netherlands. It currently ranks ninth on the list of Dutch trading partners across the world, and it is growing fast. By visiting important hubs and companies in the state, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima show their support for Dutch enterprises that already do business there, or want to expand their business to the United States. 

‘Companies that joined this trade delegation varied from for example a smaller EV battery manufacturer to large engineering corporate companies that come up with new logistics solutions. It’s a wide variety of people, with different business interests, Nadimi explains. The group was also accompanied by Dutch dignitaries such as the US Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Shefali Razdan Duggal, as well as Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the US.

Photo: Heidi Alletzhauser Photography

Photo: Heidi Alletzhauser Photography


It was this esteemed delegation that witnessed the inauguration of the newest state-of-the-art facility of Newcold in McDonough, Georgia, on the first day of the journey, Monday 10th June. NewCold is a frozen automated warehouse operator specialized in the storage of food, fully temperature controlled during both transport and storage. It has cold storage warehouses around the world, including several in the United States, and since 2021 CERTUS has been providing gate automation technology to the company in order to further automate their business operations. 

‘Gate automation is still quite a new development for warehouses’, explains Nadimi. ‘By automating the gate process, the turnaround times of trucks becomes much lower. And in the case of Newcold, the warehouse management system is integrated with the Yard Management solution, which gives them a seamless, integrated supply chain solution.’

Newcold is not unique, but definitely a frontrunner in this regard, Nadimi continues. ‘For them, automation of operations is a business philosophy. They want to have a fully automated terminal, because they operate at temperatures up to 40 degrees below Celcius, and staff can simply not be in the warehouse for a very long time.’

The process is quite impressive, he explains. ‘Pallets are being stored at a height of around 40 meters, by the same crane that also picks exactly the right pallet when it needs to be loaded. Suddenly you see those pallets moving by on the rails, on the way to the truck, where they are loaded by a forklift. All of this automatically and in a uniform manner.’

Photo: Emily Goldman

Photo: Emily Goldman

The Port of Savannah

On the second day, Tuesday 11th June, the trade mission group traveled to Savannah, which houses the fourth-busiest container port of the United States. The port of Savannah is also the fastest growing port of the country, and a customer of CERTUS since 2016. Nadimi had the honor of presenting the CERTUS solution at Garden City Terminal, where it has provided the port its ‘Rail OCR’ product. Rail OCR, which stands for Optical Character Recognition, is a technology of digitalizing data from trains, train cars and containers, basically creating a digital twin of reality which is then verified against the planning.

‘The port is currently expanding its rail capacity and connectivity between the port and major manufacturing sites around the state. With the automated Rail OCR, manual errors are eliminated and processing times significantly reduced. This leads to enhanced throughput and minimized operational delays.’

The recognition of trains and wagons is a challenging operation, as one needs to take into account various factors such as trains stopping in the middle of a digitalization process by our camera and software system, the weather conditions and more. But, as Nadimi explained to the delegation, the Rail OCR portal is equipped with high-quality cameras and LED illuminators that operate as the train moves through the portal. ‘This results in container codes, ISO codes and container sequences that streamlined the entire process, offering real-time data crucial for optimal planning and execution.’

Nadimi found an interested listener in the royal couple. ‘They are happy to see the presence of Dutch companies in the United States. And likewise, Dutch companies are happy with the representation by the King and Queen, which really helps them evolve their business.

The journey was a memorable experience, Nadimi reminisces from behind his desk in the Netherlands. ‘Not only because of the royal presence. I met a lot of interesting people, and it was a pleasure seeing our customers again. They are genuinely happy about CERTUS and showed me some real ‘southern hospitality’, as they call it.’

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