Simulation and planning of an intermodal container terminal

Gambardella, Luca Maria and Rizzoli, Andrea Emilio and Zaffalon, Marco (1998) Simulation and planning of an intermodal container terminal. Technical Report. Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull'Intelligenza Artificiale, Manno.

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Abstract

A decision support system for the management of an intermodal container terminal is presented. Among the problems to be solved, there are the spatial allocation of containers on the terminal yard, the allocation of resources and the scheduling of operations in order to maximise a performance function based on some economic indicators. These problems are solved using techniques from optimisation, like job-shop scheduling, genetic algorithms or mixed-integer linear programming. At the terminal, the same problems are usually solved by the terminal manager, only using his/her experience. The manager can trust computer generated solutions only by validating them by means of a simulation model of the terminal. Thus, the simulation tool also becomes a means to introduce new approaches into traditional settings. In the present paper we focus on the resource allocation problem. We describe our modules for the optimisation of the allocation process and for the simulation of the terminal. The former is based on integer linear program- ming; the latter is a discrete event simulation tool, based on the process- oriented paradigm. The simulator provides a test bed for checking the validity and the robustness of the policy computed by the optimisation module. The case study of the Contship La Spezia Container Terminal, located in the Mediterranean Sea in Italy, is examined.

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