Intelligent planning for allocating containers in maritime terminals

Autores UPV


Maritime container terminals are facilities where cargo containers are transshipped between ships or between ships and land vehicles (tucks or trains). These terminals involve a large number of complex and combinatorial problems. One of them is related to the Container Stacking Problem. A container yard is a type of temporary store where containers await further transport by truck, train or vessel. The main efficiency problem for an individual stack is to ensure easy access to containers at the expected time of transfer. Stacks are 'last-in, first-out' storage structures where containers are stocked in the order they arrive. But they should be retrieved from the stack in the order (usually different) they should be shipped. This retrieval operation should be efficiently performed, since berthing time of vessels and the terminal operations should be optimized. To do this, cranes can relocate containers in the stacks to minimize the rearrangements required to meet the expected order of demand for containers. In this paper, we present a domain-dependent heuristically guided planner for obtaining the optimized reshuffling plan, given a stacking state and a container demand. The planner can also be used for finding the best allocation of containers in a yard-bay in order to minimize the number of reshuffles as well as to be used for simulation tasks and obtaining conclusions about possible yard configurations. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.