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Container 42 is equipped with sensors and communication technology, and will travel around the world for two years to collect data such as noise, air pollution, humidity and temperature

Rotterdam sends hyper-smart container on trip around the world

The hyper-smart Container 42 has left the port of Rotterdam on the first leg of a two-year data-collecting mission around the world.


Container 42 is an innovation, research and serendipity platform for stakeholders in shipping, ports and related technology. It aims to answer questions about the future of technology, sustainability and logistical efficiency.

As one of the leading ports in the world, with the ambition to be the smartest port, Rotterdam is taking the lead in the digital transformation of port and logistics activities. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and market players are experimenting with taking the operation of the port to an even higher level through digitisation. Part of these experiments is the development of Container 42. 

The container is equipped with sensors and communication technology, and it will travel around the world for two years to collect data that has until now been invisible. Vibrations, pitch, position, noise, air pollution, humidity and temperature are among the things that will be recorded.

The unit has also been fitted with solar panels, which can be used to determine how much power a container can generate during a given journey by ship, train or truck. 

Understanding the challenges ahead

During the two-year period, Container 42 container will be shipped to partner ports and partner events while onboard sensors continuously measure the conditions and environment inside and around the container. 

The collected data will provide insights into the challenges a container faces during transport and logistics, and will contribute to the development of a so-called ‘digital twin’ for the port – a digital representation of the actual, physical port area. The foundations for the project are formed by the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s existing internet of things (IoT) platform. The port authority uses this cloud-based platform to collect and process data coming in from sensors installed throughout the port area. 

The digitalisation of Rotterdam’s port services will contribute to the even safer, swifter and more reliable forwarding of cargo. At some point in the future, it will also enable Rotterdam to accommodate autonomous shipping in its port area.

The container left Rotterdam in late May and made its first stop in early June, in Munich, Germany, where it was presented at the trade event Transport Logistic 2019. 

Follow Container 42’s journey here or learn more about the project here 

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