Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 274–293 | Cite as

A novel approach to yard planning under vessel arrival uncertainty

  • Liang Ping Ku
  • Ek Peng Chew
  • Loo Hay Lee
  • Kok Choon Tan


Many container terminals in the world adopt the consolidated yard planning strategy, where containers to be loaded into the same vessel are stacked in groups. This has been a good strategy because when a vessel is loading, yard cranes will be stationed at these locations, and the trucks shuttle between the quay cranes and the yard cranes almost in a conveyor belt fashion. These locations are optimally chosen such that no two groups of containers are stacked in close vicinity if they are to be loaded simultaneously. However, when there is a change in vessel arrival schedule, it may cause congestion of trucks at yard locations where groups of containers in near vicinity are loading simultaneously. While the Robust Optimisation community may suggest having a robust plan—a plan that is immune to uncertainty, in this paper, we will like to find a solution that allows us to change easily when uncertainty reveals—a plan that is nimble. While the optimum solution for the nimble plan could be intractable, we explore various heuristics that enable us to find good solutions.


Automated container terminal Nimble yard plan template Optimisation under uncertainty 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liang Ping Ku
    • 1
  • Ek Peng Chew
    • 1
  • Loo Hay Lee
    • 1
  • Kok Choon Tan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Industrial and Systems EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Decision SciencesNational University of Singapore Business SchoolSingaporeSingapore

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