Container terminals in seaports constitute interfaces between sea and land transport of goods in global transport chains. These logistics facilities face an increasing demand of service capacity, as is reflected by a tremendous growth in the worldwide container transshipments per year. For example, the top twenty terminals in the world showed an average relative increase of 14 percent with respect to the number of handled container units from 2006 to 2007, see Port of Hamburg Marketing (2008).
In spite of this development, competition is high among container terminals within the same region. A terminal’s customers, first and foremost the vessel operators, expect a high level of service quality where reliability is one of the most important dimensions, see Wiegmans et al. (2001). Regarding the service of a vessel, reliability means to realize all transshipment operations within its projected service time interval. The reliability of terminal operations impacts the reliability of vessels in meeting their liner schedules. According to Notteboom (2006) unexpected waiting times of vessels before berthing and unexpected low transshipment productivity at terminals are responsible for about 86% of liner schedule disturbances, see Fig. 1.1. Currently, many terminal operators counteract this situation by extending their transshipment capacities. They build new terminals or enlarge existing terminals and purchase new or upgrade existing equipment. Ilmer (2005) provides an overview of current projects for building terminal capacity in northern Europe. The outlined projects promise a doubling of transshipment capacity from the year 2004 to the year 2010, but environmental and socio-economic issues often limit these ambitious expansion plans. For terminals that are unable to realize capacity building investments, the only alternative to enhance service quality is to increase the productive utilization of the existing resources.
KeywordsHandling Time Container Terminal Quay Crane Crane Schedule Heuristic Solution Method
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