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VDL acquires order for 77 automated guided vehicles for Port of Rotterdam

VDL Groep continues to strengthen its ‘smart’ mobility position. Between the end of this year and mid-2023, VDL Automated Vehicles will be supplying as many as 77 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam (ECT), one of the leading and most advanced container terminal operators in Europe. The contract is valued at tens of millions of euros.

This is the third large order of AGVs VDL will be supplying to ECT. The first contract was awarded in 2011. The first deliveries at the time consisted of a total of 85 AGVs. Each AGV has since transported more than 100,000 containers. The motivation for the new order derives from the positive experience with the earlier supplied vehicles and the trust that has developed between the two parties over the years. The new order concerns the replacement of older, diesel-driven AGVs.

Autonomous and hybrid-electric
The vehicles will be fully developed by VDL and are going to entirely autonomously and hybrid-electrically transport containers 24 hours per day between the quay and the container storage area, at the largest AGV terminal in the world, the ECT Delta Terminal at the Maasvlakte. The AGVs are low-noise and consume over half less fuel than the vehicles they will be replacing.

VDL Groep’s knowledge and expertise in the automotive sector relating to safety, design, electrification, connectivity, autonomous operation and mobility as a service will also be applied to the new AGVs. The modular construction of the vehicles makes it possible to exchange technologies among all VDL vehicles, so that innovations – for example a fully electric drive – can be easily integrated.

Navigation System
One of the largest innovations that will be incorporated into the new AGVs, is the integration of VDL’s own state-of-the-art navigation system. This system is based on a comparable system that is also used by large car manufacturers. This navigation system provides for more efficient container transhipment: because the AGVs can communicate with each other, this makes it possible for them to drive closer together and this also results in shorter waiting times between trips, which in turn means that more containers per AGV can be transported. Another advantage of VDL’s AGVs is that the vehicles, in contrast to other container handling vehicles, have been designed analogous to a regular road vehicle. This makes it possible to track developments in the automotive sector for the continued development of the AGVs.

President and CEO of VDL Groep, Willem van der Leegte: ‘Over the last few days we once again demonstrated that Dutch companies are specialists on and around water. We are tremendously proud that ECT and VDL have once again found each other and that employees of both companies will be moving this form of high-quality transport another step forward. VDL is a European frontrunner in the electrification of heavy transport and a trendsetter in the area of automated vehicles. These AGVs are a perfect confirmation and a further expansion of VDL’s position.’

Leo Ruijs, CEO Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam: ‘We constantly continue to invest in our terminals and therefore also in our equipment. Together with VDL we are working on further modernising our AGV fleet for efficient container handling. The modular structure also supports our objective of working increasingly more sustainably by making use of new technologies.’

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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