Hinterland Container Notification Rail

Service in development

With HCN Rail you can pre-notify rail containers and train visits at sea and rail terminals.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it possible to only see my Loading or my Discharge containers?

By clicking on 'Loading' or 'Discharge' or the 'Visit voyage ID' (on the right of the screen, see screenshot) you have the possibility to see handlings for loading or discharging only. The filter is activated when the word ‘Loading’ or ‘Discharge’ is highlighted in orange. This filter is will stay activated when navigating through visits and also across sessions. So, if you don't see a container make sure you have selected the right filter.

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What does the ‘blue orb’ means in the rotation overview?

This means that the terminal has changed something during a visit. For example, that the visit has been accepted.

The blue orb for a visit disappears (for everyone) when someone presses the ‘Acknowledge update’ button.

For the rotation and visits when viewing a rotation:

When all changed visits are acknowledged, the blue orb for the rotation will also disappear automatically.

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What are time table slots?

These are slots in the railway timetable, whereby it is determined in advance at which times of the week a particular rail operator will visit which terminal. These are put in HNC by the terminal and used by the rail operator when they request a visit in HNC.

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Which terminal supports which HCN functionality?

View the support per modality below.

HCN Road

What options do you have as a carrier?

TerminalAddressZip codeEAN codeEdifactXML/SMDGStatus requestStatus requests: Continuous updatesPre-notificationUpdate pre-notificationCancel pre-notificationPre-notification: Continuous updatesGate-in Gate-outEmpty pre-notification: with booking nr. onlyTAR codeRemote Check-InRemain on TruckCommercial window informationCargo opening & closing information
APM Terminals Maasvlakte II B.VEuropaweg 9103199 LC8713755272258NLRTM + NLMVIINLRTMNLMVII1
DCS | Kramer GroupMissouriweg 303199 LB 8713755948719NLRTM + OQEPNLRTMOQEP1
Euromax Terminal B.V.Maasvlakteweg 9513199 LZ8713755502201NLRTM + EMXNLRTMEMX
Hutchison Ports Delta II B.V.Coloradoweg 503199 LA8713755000394NLRTM + MDTNLRTMMDT1
Hutchison Ports ECT Delta Terminal B.V.Europaweg 8753199 LD8713755000059NLRTM + DCDNLRTMDCD
Matrans Rotterdam TerminalReeweg 253089 KM8713755234607NLRTM + MATRNLRTMMATR
R.B.C./CetemWestgeulstraat 6 3197 LD8713755299484NLRTM + CETA NLRTMCETA 
RCT | Kramer GroupMissouriweg 173199 LB 8713755278625NLRTM + KRMNLRTMKRM1
RSTReeweg 353089 KM8713755259860NLRTM + RSTNLRTMRST
RWGAmoerweg 503199 KD8713755270896NLRTM + RWGNLRTMRWG1
UWT Depot FrisohavenBunschotenweg 1603089 KC8713755903541NLRTM + UWTNLRTMUWT1
UWT Depot WaalhavenWaalhaven West Zijde 603089 KR8713755047085NLRTM + WHTNLRTMWHT1
  • ECT + Euromax: Once all statuses are OK, there will be no further updates if any changes occur.
  • HPD2: 24/7 with TAR timeslot. For more information, check the terminals company website.
  • APMII: half-hour TAR timeslots. For more information, check the terminals company website.
  • RWG: 1-hour TAR timeslot. For more information, check the terminals company website.
  • RCT & DCS: 1-hour TAR timeslot. For more information, check the terminals company website

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The filter search field does not work. I cannot find visits or containers

The filter works in several ways. Always make sure you have selected the correct date range.
Do you use the search bar? Use at least 3 characters to find what you are looking for.

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How can I move through the input fields quickly and effectively?

To quickly move through the date fields, fill in the first field (in full or in part) and then use tab to jump to the next field.

Date example: the system automatically grabs the complete date of the current month after you enter the day of the month (for example 15) and press tab on the keyboard.

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What do the words Detached, Expected, In Operation, Completed mean?

The dashboard offers real-time insight into your handlings in 4 boxes:

  • Detached: Contains status requests, or handlings (containers) that are not yet linked to a terminal visit.
  • Expected: Contains prenotifications, or handlings (containers) that are linked to a terminal visit. This does not mean that the appointment is already fully accepted. Keep a close eye on the statuses.
  • In Operation: This means that the scheduled truck is currently loading and/or discharging the containers at the terminal.
  • Completed: The containers have been delivered or collected. The prenotification is complete. You can find more information about gate-in and gate-out here.

Note: Not all terminals send gate-in/out information to MCA Road, in which case you can check the terminal's website for gate in/out information.

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Is it possible to cancel a status request?

You can cancel the status request in the MCA web screen. However, no cancellation will be forwarded to the terminal.

On the terminal side, the status request expires as soon as a new status request or prenotification is submitted. Or if the term of the status request expires.

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How many characters are permitted in the seal number?

The seal number you enter in your prenotification must always be between two and fifteen positions long. Entering a longer number or only a single full stop or a single space is not permitted.

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Where can I find the history (log) of my rotation?

You can view the history within the service. Click on the rotation and then on the ‘history’ tab.

There you will find the event history (a log) like the printscreen below. This shows you all the events that took place on that rotation. By clicking on an event, the rotation is shown as it appeared at that moment in the past.

Note: you can search within the history by using the search function CTRL+F.

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Is it possible to view a rotation/visit after it has been cancelled?

Once you have cancelled a rotation or visit, it will no longer be displayed on the HCN Barge and HCN Rail web page.

The terminal will receive a “Cancellation Requested” status update in connection with the cancelled visit/rotation.

As soon as the terminal accepts the cancellation, the visit or rotation will no longer be visible on the terminal web page of HCN Barge / HCN Rail.

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Can you use HCN Rail on your smartphone and tablet?

Yes, you can.

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Which browsers are supported?

Common browsers including Microsoft Edge are generally supported. The preference for optimum use is Google Chrome. Internet Explorer, the Microsoft predecessor to Edge, is not supported (from October 31, 2021).

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How can I set up e-mail notifications for prenotifications and/or visits?

You can subscribe to e-mail notifications for prenotifications and/or visits via the 'Configuration' tab in HCN Road, HCN Barge and HCN Rail.

Please note- if you use a group e-mail address, make sure you only register one colleague for these e-mails in order to avoid multiple identical notifications being delivered.

E-mail containers

It is also possible to e-mail container statuses directly from HCN to yourself or an external email address.

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What do the figures displayed on the rotation and visit screen mean?

For example, if you see 5/50, this means: 5 handlings are linked to this rotation or visit and 50 containers are notified as the expected number to discharge. As a result, you can see that you can still link multiple handlings to this visit without exceeding the expected number to discharge.

Please note: as soon as the barge goes into operation, actual numbers are shown, for example, 2/40 = 2 containers actually loaded of a total of 40 containers prenotified for loading during this visit.

The numbers after the warning icon indicate how many containers there are issues within the handling status.

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Is it possible to use Excel to upload handlings in HCN?

Yes, it is possible to use Excel to upload handlings in HCN Road, HCN Rail and HCN Barge.

Steps to upload Excel sheet in HCN:

  • Go to the service HCN Road, HCN Barge or HCN Rail
  • Click on the ‘Rotations’ tab
  • Find the relevant barge and open the rotation
  • Search for the visit and open this by clicking
  • Within the visit, click through to the ‘Handlings’ tab
  • Click on ‘Download XLS template’
  • Enter the status requests/pre-notification information in the template (Excel sheet)
  • Click on 'Upload handlings'
  • Select whether you want to upload the information as a status request or as a pre-notification

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I have submitted a prenotification from our planning system. Can I then submit a new prenotification and/or status request?

If you submit a new prenotification with the same combination, the prenotification will be rejected.

A prenotification may occur only once with the combination of:

  1. Container number
  2. Direction (loading/discharging)
  3. Clearance reference/booking number
  4. Terminal
  5. Shipping company

A status request can be submitted multiple times; however, once is enough to receive ongoing changes to the handling status.

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Where can I find the shipping company codes?

You can find the shipping company codes (SCAC codes) within the service HCN. Click on your name at the top right and a drop-down menu will appear. Click on ‘Shipping company list’ to see the last known shipping companies that HCN supports.

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What has ECT communicated about the Export Customs document?

Subject: Export Customs document

Dear relation,

In the context of the new functionality for handling the Unloading/Loading list in Hinterland Container Notification (MCA), we would like to draw your attention to the following. There is no need to register an export customs document at ECT when the carrier delivers the container at the terminal. To our knowledge, this is different from APMT and RWG.

ECT will report a green status back to MCA for an export container, If everything is in order. Even in the case that there is no export customs document registered. A green status at ECT therefore does not say anything about the presence of this document. If you want to check the presence of the document, you can use the Portbase-MED screen. This information cannot be found via the MCA screen. We strongly recommend you to do this. To prevent that your container is not loaded on the deepsea vessel, because of the absence of an export document.

ECT is not liable for the proper transmission of this message.

No rights can be derived from the content of this message.

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Having trouble capturing screenshots with the mouse-over popups or so called tool tips showing?

Use the free tool Gadwin Printscreen.

It is also possible to directly e-mail statuses of selected handlings to an e-mail address.

View the Quick Start Guide under the ‘E-mail Notifications’ tab to see how this works.

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Process progress

Why does it sometimes take so long before I get a response to my prenotification(s) from a terminal?

The speed with which status requests and prenotifications are answered depends on several factors. The sending and processing of status requests and prenotifications involve a series of actions by different parties. Things can sometimes go wrong at various points in that chain. The aim is to keep problems to a minimum.

Port Community System (PCS)

Most prenotifications and status requests from carriers/operators are processed via the Portbase platform and sent to the terminal within seconds.

Nevertheless, sometimes malfunctions do occur, or there may be maintenance to the services. In that case, Portbase will get to work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. At status.portbase.com you can see the status of the various Portbase services. On that page, you can also subscribe to notifications so that you are always kept up to date. It is reassuring to know that the Portbase (PCS) system has an uptime of 99.8%.

Terminal Operating Systems (TOS)

Most terminals use an EDI connection. After EDI messages are received from Portbase, they must be read out and processed in the terminal system, and finally, a response message needs to be returned to Portbase. Delays may occur in all these steps – especially when demands on processing capacity are at their highest, for example on Friday afternoons. At peak times like this, large volumes of EDI messages are sent and delays can occur.

API links are the future and may represent an improvement in this regard. The first terminals are now working with API links.

Terminals can also unexpectedly run into malfunctions or require maintenance of their systems. In such cases, terminals will work to solve the issue as quickly as possible and will inform their customers and users themselves.

Transport Management Systems (TMS)

Hauliers can make use of a system link between their planning system (TMS) and the Portbase (PCS) system; delays or malfunctions can also occur in these systems.

Ask your software vendor about the options for working with API.

As we have seen, delays can occur at different times and in different steps in the process. Please contact the Portbase Service Desk if you have reason to believe you are experiencing an unusually long delay during prenotification. You can do so by calling +31 (0)88 625 25 25 or by emailing our Customer Service.

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