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Optimization of container layout decision policy in the vertical type terminal based on simulation 2023-04-03

Optimization of container layout decision policy in the vertical type terminal based on simulation

Terminal Operation Simulation

We would like to introduce a method for optimizing the terminal operation policy based on the simulation of terminal operation. The following contents focus on a particular explanation of how to optimize the container device layout decision policy using block operation simulation, and the introduction focuses on the performance results of the optimization process by OPUS DigiPort

In the case of the terminal operation simulation, it depends on the purpose, whether to implement CHE (Container Handling Equipment) as a statistical model or Physics engine-based model, which considers CHE operation performance (moving speed, variable speed, etc.) and collisions between equipment. The physics engine-based model has higher reliability because it is closer to actual cases. Also, the simulation result can be checked intuitively, as you can see the status of actual terminal operation.


Terminal operation policy is a decision-making method for terminal operation. The work allocation policy for container transport vehicles is to decide on transport vehicles for container transportation, and the container device layout decision policy determines the positioning of the container that comes into the block. YC work allocation policy decides the container, which is the object of YC work, and it also decides AGV’s travel route in case of AGV operating terminals. The stated operation policy is vitally important because its performance level highly affects terminal productivity.

Among these operation policies, we would like to demonstrate the container device layout decision policy in the vertical-type terminal, as shown below.


Container Device Layout Decision Policy 

The feature of a vertical-type yard block is that the flow of the import container and the export container is opposite, as shown below picture. The import container comes in from the seaside and goes out to the landside, and the export container comes in from the landside end loading and goes out to the seaside end loading. Interference problems between cranes must be considered more carefully than horizontal-type terminals due to the circumstances of two-yard cranes included for each block in general and opposite container flows. Besides that, the container device layout needs to be decided by considering re-handling, the crane’s travel range, and other factors.


In the container device layout decision process, there are a few criteria to consider when deciding which stack to stack containers. For example, there are the following evaluation factors such as how much a container need to be moved when leaving the block, how many layers the height of the stack needs to be stacked, how much a 40ft stack shrinks, and how many re-handling occurs. Based on the above-stated criteria, score of the stack to stack up the containers can be calculated. In this way, each criterion can be used to calculate a score for candidate stacks and then determine the device location by the highest overall scored stack.

The importance of each criterion that terminal operators consider may be different. Hence the importance (weighting) could be assigned to each evaluation criterion accordingly. In the terminal where it places a prem