Optimizing the landside operation of a container terminal. (English) Zbl 1133.90308

Summary: This paper concerns the problem of operating a landside container exchange area that is serviced by multiple semi-automated rail mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) that are moving on a single bi-directional traveling lane. Such a facility is being built by Patrick Corporation at the Port Botany terminal in Sydney. The gantry cranes are a scarce resource and handle the bulk of container movements. Thus, they require a sophisticated analysis to achieve near optimal utilization. We present a three-stage algorithm to manage the container exchange facility, including the scheduling of cranes, the control of associated short-term container stacking, and the allocation of delivery locations for trucks and other container transporters. The key components of our approach are a time scale decomposition, whereby an integer program controls decisions across a long time horizon to produce a balanced plan that is fed to a series of short time scale online subproblems, and a highly efficient space-time divisioning of short-term storage areas. A computational evaluation shows that our heuristic can find effective solutions for the planning problem; on real-world data it yields a solution at most 8% above a lower bound on optimal RMG utilization.


90B06 Transportation, logistics and supply chain management
90B35 Deterministic scheduling theory in operations research
90C10 Integer programming


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