A New Approach to the Container Positioning Problem

Jonas Ahmt, Jonas Skott Sigtenbjerggaard, Richard Martin Lusby, Jesper Larsen, David Ryan

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    In this paper the Container Positioning Problem is revisited. This problem arises at busy container terminals and requires one to minimize the use of block cranes in handling the containers that must wait at the terminal until their next means of transportation. We propose a new Mixed Integer Programming model that not only improves on earlier attempts at this problem, but also better reflects reality. In particular, the proposed model adopts a preference to reshuffle containers in line with a just-in-time concept, as it is assumed that data is more accurate the closer to a container’s scheduled departure the time is. Other important improvements include a reduction in the model size, and the ability of the model to consider containers initially at the terminal. In addition, we describe several classes of valid inequalities for this new formulation and present arolling horizon based heuristic for solving larger instances of the problem. We show that this new formulation drastically outperforms previous attempts at the problem through a direct comparison on instances available in the literature. Furthermore, we also show that the rolling horizon based heuristic can further reduce the solution time on the larger of these instances as well as find acceptable solutions to much bigger, artificially generated, instances.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherDTU Management Engineering
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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