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Storage space allocation models for inbound containers in an automatic container terminal

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  • Yu, Mingzhu
  • Qi, Xiangtong
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the problem of improving the operations efficiency for retrieving inbound containers in a modern automatic container terminal. In the terminal, when an external truck arrives to collect a container stored in a specific container block, it waits at one end of the block where an automatic stack crane will retrieve the container and deliver it to the truck. With the aim of reducing the expected external truck waiting time which is determined by how the containers are stored in a block, we propose two correlated approaches for the operations efficiency improvement, (1) by designing an optimized block space allocation to store the inbound containers after they are discharged from vessels, and (2) by conducting overnight re-marshaling processes to re-organize the block space allocation after some containers are retrieved. For the block space allocation problem, we consider three optimization models under different strategies of storing containers, namely, a non-segregation model, a single-period segregation model, and a multiple-period segregation model. Optimal solution methods are proposed for all three models. For the re-marshaling problem with a given time limit, we find that the problem is NP-hard and develop a heuristic algorithm to solve the problem. We then use simulation to validate our models and solution approaches. Simulation results reveal important managerial insights such as the advantage of the multiple-period segregation over the myopic single-period segregation, the possibility of overflow of the segregation model, and the benefit of re-marshaling.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377221712008107
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Operational Research.

    Volume (Year): 226 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 32-45

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:226:y:2013:i:1:p:32-45

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eor

    Related research

    Keywords: Container terminal scheduling; Space allocation; Re-marshaling; Optimization;

    References

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    1. Kim, Kap Hwan & Park, Young Man & Ryu, Kwang-Ryul, 2000. "Deriving decision rules to locate export containers in container yards," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 89-101, July.
    2. Hwan Kim, Kap & Bae Kim, Hong, 1999. "Segregating space allocation models for container inventories in port container terminals," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-3), pages 415-423, March.
    3. Jiang, Xinjia & Lee, Loo Hay & Chew, Ek Peng & Han, Yongbin & Tan, Kok Choon, 2012. "A container yard storage strategy for improving land utilization and operation efficiency in a transshipment hub port," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 221(1), pages 64-73.
    4. Caserta, Marco & Schwarze, Silvia & Voß, Stefan, 2012. "A mathematical formulation and complexity considerations for the blocks relocation problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 219(1), pages 96-104.
    5. Kim, Kap Hwan & Park, Kang Tae, 2003. "A note on a dynamic space-allocation method for outbound containers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 92-101, July.
    6. Kim, Kap Hwan & Kim, Hong Bae, 2002. "The optimal sizing of the storage space and handling facilities for import containers," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 821-835, November.
    7. Kim, Kap Hwan & Kim, Ki Young, 2007. "Optimal price schedules for storage of inbound containers," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 892-905, October.
    8. Lee, Yusin & Chao, Shih-Liang, 2009. "A neighborhood search heuristic for pre-marshalling export containers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(2), pages 468-475, July.
    9. Bortfeldt, Andreas & Forster, Florian, 2012. "A tree search procedure for the container pre-marshalling problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 217(3), pages 531-540.
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