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DFG | IT-Based Planning and Control of Seaport Container Terminals: Support of Layout Planning by Optimization and Simulation

Jan 01, 2007 — Jan 01, 2012

The completed research project considered computer-based decision support in strategic layout planning of container terminals in seaports. The primary objective of the project was to develop and evaluate optimization and simulation models and their solution methods to support layout planning. The starting point was an analysis of the influencing factors and general conditions. Different factors were identified, especially the influence of the selected resources on the layout planning. Taking into account the general conditions and their requirements, an optimization model for integrated layout planning was developed. All positionable elements of a container terminal layout are taken into account under the restriction that the number of blocks and their dimensions are given. Thus all regarded layout classes can be considered in this model. A further optimization model was developed for the layout planning of the storage area with a focus on typical Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTG). By focusing on special layout classes a model simplification could be achieved. The same applies to the layout classes for straddle carriers (SC) and automated rail mounted gantries (A-RMG). Here too, new models were developed in each case. Further possibilities of model simplification were investigated to solve the models. The specifications were standardised by restricting to one type of layout classes in order to exclude a large number of possible layout options. Furthermore, a genetic algorithm was developed for the optimization model for holistic layout planning and a VND heuristic was developed for the solution of instances for the RTG-based model. An event-oriented simulation model was developed to evaluate the influence of a change in the terminal layout on the performance of the entire container terminal system. The modular design of the simulation model allows to model different scenarios and different technologies. The simulation model is designed to simulate different layouts of a container terminal and to measure and compare performance indicators such as quay crane moves per hour for the different layouts. The suitability of different layout structures or layout classes for specific container flow scenarios was investigated by means of simulation studies. In the project, many aspects were elaborated in detail to evaluate and prioritize the suitability of different layout structures for given equipment types. During the elaboration of the individual work packages, various prototypes were created which can be further developed for use in a decision support system.

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