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What can we do to ensure that no plastic pellets are lost while loading bulk consignments from silos?

Submit your idea before 29/05!
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The Challenge

In collaboration with the plastics industry, Port of Antwerp is looking for a widely applicable solution to ensure that no plastic pellets are lost during the loading of bulk trucks and containers from silos. What we are looking for is a cost-effective solution that takes maximum account of the various infrastructures, users, procedures and polymers to be loaded. We also aim to maintain current levels of efficiency, safety, speed and simplicity with regard to the loading of these bulk trucks.


Every year, millions of tonnes of polymers or plastic pellets find their way, via the port of Antwerp, to other hubs in other parts of Europe. The plastic pellets are mainly stored in silos for further throughput. Unfortunately, during the various operations carried out during the plastic chain as a whole (production, logistics, transportation and processing), small losses can occur that ultimately can accumulate in greater concentrations in the environment. The entire port community is aware that these pellets, like other floating waste, do not belong there. That is why Port of Antwerp, together with the entire plastic value chain, is endeavouring to achieve "zero pellet loss" by ensuring that preventing the loss of these plastic pellets is made a top priority.

Loading bulk trucks from silos

The storage and throughput of plastic pellets takes place via different modes of transport and involves different forms of packaging. A large proportion of the logistics chain involves the use of silos for the loading of load bulk trucks. For this purpose, the various opened manholes of the bulk trucks are positioned under the loading pipes from the silo.

During this loading process, spills may occur around the manholes or plastic pellets may jump out of the bulk manholes on the bulk truck and therefore end up on top of or around the bulk truck. This problem is frequently a result of the large diversity of types of bulk trucks/containers with different manholes and the different loading systems, but it is also due to the high fill rate that the customer can pre-set. In addition, the operators or drivers perform several manual operations during loading, which can cause plastic pellets to be spilled if the operator or driver is inattentive or inexperienced. 

As a result, a raw material is lost and several collection, inspection and cleaning procedures must be carried out. In addition, there is also the risk of plastic pellets remaining on top of the bulk truck or on the chassis and entering the environment in that way (such as by falling onto the public road, being carried off into the sewerage system and therefore entering the water in the dock).

Given that the port of Antwerp acts as a polymer hub that is home to very many different firms within the plastic value chain, a diversity of types of silos, users, procedures, containers and polymers must be taken into account.

In order to achieve this challenge, we are seeking a technical solution that responds to the problem outlined above and will ensure that no plastic pellets are lost during this loading activity.

Extra information

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Evaluation Criteria

Please keep in mind that submitted ideas will be evaluated on the below criteria.

Zero loss

Widely/universally applicable

Feasible in terms of investment (low TCO)

Innovative elements

Compatibility with current infrastructure and procedures

Efficiency, user-friendliness and simplicity

Challenge Timeline


    21/04/2022 - 29/05/2022


    Submit your ideas before 29/05/2022 end of day! You can do this through the form below! Don't forget to keep the criteria in mind when submitting your idea.

  • 30/05/2022 - 13/06/2022


    An expert jury looks into the submitted ideas and will select the shortlist.

  • 13/06/2022 - 17/06/2022


    An info session & a site visit will be organised to give you more details on the project. More information will be added later.

  • SEPTEMBER 2022

  • 10 - PAGER

    The shortlisted ideas have to complete a 10-pager. This will be used as input for the next evaluation round. Don't forget to keep the above mentioned criteria in mind!

  • OCTOBER 2022


    The expert jury looks into the submitted 10-pagers and selects one or more ideas as finalist(s).

  • Q4 2022 - Q1 2023 (exact dates TBD)


    The finalists work on their prototypes.

  • Q4 2022 - Q1 2023 (exact dates TBD)


    The expert jury will evaluate the prototypes and decide who will be the campaign winner and will receive a cheque of €5000.



Register your idea!