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. Thisproblem arises at busy container terminals and requires one to minimize the use ofblock cranes in handling the containers that must wait at the terminal until their nextmeans of transportation. We propose a new Mixed Integer Programming model thatnot 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 linewith a just-in-time concept, as it is assumed that data is more accurate the closer to acontainer’s scheduled departure the time is. Other important improvements includea reduction in the model size, and the ability of the model to consider containersinitially at the terminal. In addition, we describe several classes of valid inequalitiesfor this new formulation and present a rolling horizon based heuristic for solvinglarger instances of the problem. We show that this new formulation drasticallyoutperforms previous attempts at the problem through a direct comparison oninstances available in the literature. Furthermore, we also show that the rollinghorizon based heuristic can further reduce the solution time on the larger of theseinstances as well as find acceptable solutions to much bigger, artificially generated,instances.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFlexible Services and Manufacturing Journal
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)617–643
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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