Baxter and Donaldson co-load transports between Belgium and Ireland

Baxter, a global healthcare company, and Donaldson Company, a global manufacturer of filtration systems, have successfully been co-loading their transports between Belgium and Ireland since August 2012. Neutral orchestrator Tri-Vizor is synchronizing the shipments of both companies in real time, while ECS European Containers supports the community as logistics service provider. The realized savings in cost and CO2 are substantial.

Baxter is a global healthcare company with expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and has its European distribution center in Lessines, about 40 kilometers from Brussels. Donaldson Company  is one of the largest manufacturers of filtration solutions in the world with a European distribution center in Bruges. Both companies have compatible freight flows, among others between Belgium and Ireland. The bundling opportunity was detected by Tri-Vizor, a company specialized in creating and operating innovative transport collaborations among shippers.

In Q2 of 2012, Tri-Vizor invited Donaldson and Baxter around the table to forge a horizontal collaboration partnership. “As our delivery destination in Ireland turned out to be in the same enterprise park as Baxter’s, we felt that co-loading presented a real opportunity” says Johan Rosquin, traffic manager at Donaldson Leuven.

As the potential savings in costs and CO2 turned out to be substantial for both Baxter and Donaldson, they decided to start a pilot in August 2012. Neutral orchestrator Tri-Vizor was asked to manage and synchronize the shipments of both companies in real-time. Alex Van Breedam, CEO of Tri-Vizor: “To perform this operational orchestration activity, Tri-Vizor has developed the Cross Supply Chain Cockpit, a powerful and unique ICT platform for managing horizontal collaboration communities”. The result of Tri-Vizor’s synchronization activity is that every week, containers from Belgium to Ireland are being filled to their maximal volumetric capacity with a mix of Baxter and Donaldson products.

For the transport of the co-loaded containers from Belgium to Ireland, Baxter and Donaldson selected logistics service provider ECS European Containers, mainly because of its experience with the Belgium-Ireland lane. Pieter Balcaen, CEO of ECS European Containers: “As a specialist in full container loads, particularly on the leg from Belgium to Ireland, we felt we could add significant value to this collaboration”.

The complete intermodal journey physically looks as follows: the container is first loaded with Baxter products in Lessines and is subsequently trucked to Bruges where the products of Donaldson are added. In the port of Zeebrugge the container is transshipped onto the ferry to Dublin. Upon arrival in Dublin, ECS European Containers takes care of the final deliveries, first at Donaldson’s end customers and subsequently at the Baxter production site.

The benefits for the companies involved in co-loading are manyfold, but mainly include substantial savings in transportation cost in combination with the use of fewer containers, with higher capacity utilization. On top of that, important sustainability gains are being realized through co-loading. In this case, a CO2 reduction of more than 15% is achieved.

For Baxter, this is not the first successful horizontal collaboration experience. In 2011, Baxter started to co-load with another global healthcare company on multiple destinations to central and eastern Europe. “We’ve experienced that the benefits of bundling and consolidation could be very significant, especially if trust is installed in the community by a neutral orchestrator. Our aim is to continuously expand this collaboration to new destinations and with new partners. Moreover, driving reductions in our carbon footprint is part of Baxter’s long-term sustainability approach to balancing business priorities with social, economic and environmental responsibilities”, says Ludovic Ménédème, director transport and distribution EMEA at Baxter.