In 2019, Ernst Tjaden came in contact with TVM, the leading insurer for transport and logistics, about multiple-use packaging and the problems involved. TVM sees the problems and high costs associated with loss, theft and damage – which means that reuse is no longer possible – of packaging in the sector. This costs transporters € 150.000 to € 3.000.000 per year. In addition, replacing the crates, trolleys and pallets has major environmental impact.

TVM has brought various parties in the sector together to see if there are solutions that will help the chain. TellApe, TVM, Container Centralen, Koninklijke van der Slot Transport and Royal Flora Holland have joined forces to offer this packaging challenge through the Odyssey Hackathon.

The challenge of the sector

The stakeholders all experience their own challenge regarding multi-use packaging. We briefly describe what the stakeholders encounter.


TVM insures cargo liability for goods and transport items. Stolen, missing and damaged goods and the accompanying transport items are the main expense within these insurance policies. For TVM there is therefore still much to be gained in the reduction of damage costs.

Container Centralen

Container Centralen sees the problem surrounding RTI’s as twofold. On the one hand, there are customers (tenants or users) that lose sight of the multi-use packaging that’s under their management. This leads to financial and operational consequences. On the other hand, customers keep the transport items in their possession longer due to the fact that these items are often used for other purposes such as storage. This creates shortages that also have financial and operational consequences.

Van der Slot transport

As a transporter, Van der Slot transport runs into (legal) trouble at the moment of transaction and due to arguments regarding registration. A very concrete example of this:

The driver loads empty carts with shelves at night. The driver arrives at the delivery location, finds a broken shelf and does not accept it. Who is responsible for the broken shelf and who pays the bill?

Royal Flora Holland

Royal Flora Holland sees the problem arising around reusable packaging in the management chain, from trade to retail. At the beginning of the chain, between grower and auction, the management of reusable transport items is labor-intensive. It is often not clear what happens with the reusable transport items after the auction.


The challenge that TellApe sees, is that transport items are not part of companies’ primary process and there is no clarity about creating a packaging administration. There are many different manuals and rules for a financial administration, but these are missing for multi-use packaging administrations.

The overall challenge

The packaging challenge of the collective stakeholders is to gain insight into the transport items in the entire chain, to make clear agreements about returnable transport items and to record where the responsibility of the packaging lies at what time.

Multi-use packaging may seem simple, but it has to deal with many factors. It can cost more or less than the entire product to be transported and ownership can lie with the carrier, manufacturer or retailer. One solution does not suit everyone in the chain, and the interests of the stakeholders in the supply chain are also different. The biggest challenge is: who has which responsibility at what time.

The solution should benefit all chain partners to which the stakeholders should commit. It must yield cost benefits, environmentally friendly and it must produce an unambiguous system of agreements.

Odyssey Momentum

Initially, the hackathon was scheduled for April. This was supposed to be a physical event in the Sugar Factory in Groningen. Due to Corona, the physical event could not take place, so it was changed to an online event in November.

During the weekend, various teams were busy devising and building a solution. The stakeholders held feedback rounds with the participating teams and provided tips on which solution direction would best suit the sector.

The winning solution

OVSoftware has become the ultimate winner, by providing the most suitable solution for all stakeholders. OVSoftware has developed a protocol using blockchain technology. The data is shared between collaborators of the protocol, but the provider determines the degree of sensitive information and the data is also not stored on the blockchain. The protocol contains a data model that describes the type of information that can be exchanged.

TellApe is entering a follow-up process with OVSoftware and the stakeholders to give the idea more shape. We hope that, together with the knowledge partners, we can unlock data in the multi-use packaging-world.

More information about the Odyssey packaging challenge and the packaging-solution