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Comparison of Equipment Sizing Models for Horizontal Transportation of Shipping Containers using Automated Straddle Carriers

B. Anvari

Research Associate, CTS, Department of Civil & Environmental Eng., Imperial College London, SW7 2BU

A. Ziakopoulos

Student, CTS, Department of Civil & Environmental Eng., Imperial College London, SW7 2BU

J. Morley

Principal, Morley Designs Ltd, Oce 2, The School House, 16 Church Street, Alwalton, Peterborough, PE7 3UU

D. Pachakis

Principal Engineer, Royal HaskoningDHV, 2 Abbey Gardens, Great College Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3NL

P. Angeloudis

Lecturer, CTS, Department of Civil & Environmental Eng., Imperial College London, SW7 2BU

Abstract

Ports have become freight distribution hubs. Due to fierce regional and international competition, port op- erators seek ways to maximise terminal throughput and productivity. This paper uses queuing theory, Petri Networks (PNs) and discrete event simulation to compare the impact on the productivity of yard-side oper- ations in a container terminal of utilising dierent numbers of Automated Straddle Carriers (AStCs). PNs and discrete event modelling techniques divide complex continuous systems into subsystems and analyse the system as a series of sequential operations being performed on certain entities. Discrete event simulation is used for the utilisation of AStCs with gang and pooling deployment strategies. Venice’s new o-shore terminal is used for modelling the complex processes of a container terminal in order to determine the op- timal number of AStCs. The equipment sizing results gained from the developed PN and discrete event simulation are closely matching with the optimal solution determined from various models of queuing the- ory. Given the dierent eort required for the three methods, it can be concluded that PN represents a fair trade-oand is the methodology of choice for equipment sizing problems, compared to analytic queuing theory and complex discrete event simulations.

Keywords: Ports Productivity, Automated Straddle Carriers, Petri Networks

Corresponding author. Tel.: +44(0)2075942706. Email addresses: b.anvari09@imperial.ac.uk (B. Anvari), apostolos.ziakopoulos13@imperial.ac.uk (A. Ziakopoulos), james@morleydesigns.com (J. Morley), Dimitrios.Pachakis@rhdhv.com (D. Pachakis), p.angeloudis@imperial.ac.uk (P. Angeloudis)

1. Introduction

In our modern world of increasing consumer demand, the maritime sector is responsible for transporting over 90% of freight [1]. With the introduction of the container in the 1950s, freight movement became standardised, more ecient and less expensive [2]. Annually, there are about 5000 container vessels ferrying over 580 million Twenty-feet Equivalent Units (TEUs) of con- tainers between ports in 200 countries worldwide [3]. These containerships use dedicated areas in ports called container terminals to handle their cargo. Due to fierce regional and international competition, terminal operators seek ways to maximise throughput and productivity [4]. The three groups of operations in a terminal which have the greatest influence on a port’s productivity are: (un)loading containers to/from the vessel (quay-side operations), storing/retrieving contain- ers at/from the stacking yard-side (yard-side operations), and transporting containers between the quay-side and the yard-side (transfer operations) [5, 6]. The stored containers are usually either loaded to another vessels (transhipment containers) or carried out by rail or trucks. The operational performance of a port has been studied and optimised using dierent strate- gies, such as using automated equipment [7, 8], changing the container stacking policies [6], and varying the storing/retrieving mechanism [9]. These strategies, however, are rarely utilised by port operators in their terminals due to factors such as the lack of skilled stato deliver the service, the extensive lead time for procurement and implementation of new technology, incomplete and ever-changing information about container movements and budgetary and physical constraints. When designing a new container terminal, one can consider choosing Automated Straddle Carriers (AStCs) for storing/retrieving containers at/from the stacking yard. AStCs are capable of performing a variety of dierent functions independently, such as picking containers up from the ground, transporting the containers horizontally to the storage area and stacking them up to a certain height [10]. AStCs are not the most expensive machinery that operates in a port but they can make significant dierences to the productivity of any port terminal [10]. The productivity of AStCs is, however, dependent on their capacity, the assigned workload, the productivity of the Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes, and the size of the buer zone under a STS crane [7]. The size of a buer zone is critical since spillovers caused by lack of space will disrupt the nearby operations (i.e. movement of other horizontal and vertical equipment). On the other hand, buer zones reduce the available space for container stacking. Before choosing AStCs for the horizontal transport in a container terminal, therefore, feasi- bility and sizing analysis needs to be performed. Although queuing theory provides adequate results for the initial planning stages, there is a strong tendency to use discrete event simulation for tactical and strategic planning of container terminals [11, 12]. Another potential analytical method is Petri Networks (PNs). PNs are similar to discrete event modelling techniques in that they divide complex continuous systems into subsystems and analyse the system as a series of sequential operations being performed on certain entities. The objective of this paper is to provide a comparative analysis of queuing theory, PNs and a discrete event model by applying them to the same problem. The new o-shore terminal of Venice is used for modelling complex processes of a container terminal and determining the optimal number of AStCs required for ecient and economic operations at the quay- and yard-side of the terminal. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2.1 presents an introduction to material handling

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equipments and explains the advantages of using AStCs. Research on performance analysis of AStCs for a container terminal is reviewed in Sections 2.2. In Section 3, the container composi- tion, the shipment arrival and departure times and operating details of the AStC proposed to be used at the new Venice o-shore terminal are described. Dierent queuing theory formulations, PNs and discrete simulation are used for analysing the impact of dierent numbers of AStCs on the productivity of yard-side operations in a container terminal in Sections 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3. The performance analysis using three models are compared in Section 5, while Section 6 summarises the general conclusions of this paper.

2. Background

2.1. Automated Straddle Carrier Operations

2. Background 2.1. Automated Straddle Carrier Operations (a) (b) Figure 1: Auto Straddle Carriers (AStCs) (a)

(a)

2. Background 2.1. Automated Straddle Carrier Operations (a) (b) Figure 1: Auto Straddle Carriers (AStCs) (a)

(b)

Figure 1: Auto Straddle Carriers (AStCs) (a) operating at the yard-side [8] and (b) serving the hook under a Ship-To-Shore crane (STS crane) [8]

One of the strategic decisions at the design stage of a container terminal is the type of material handling equipment used for transporting containers. Frequently used material handling equip- ment at the yard-side are the gantry crane and Straddle Carriers (StCs). There are two types of gantry cranes, Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes and Rail Mounted Gantry (RMG) cranes. StCs, RTG cranes and RMG cranes have a storage capacity of approximately 500600 TEU per hectare, 900 1100 TEU per hectare and over 1200 TEU per hectare respectively [4]. Thus, a terminal can execute double volume when using a RMG crane compared to a StC [4]. Based on Wiese et al. [13, 14]’s survey of 114 container terminals, however, 63.2% of container terminals use RTG cranes, 6.1% use RMG cranes (mainly in Europe) and 20.2% use StCs as their main material han- dling equipment. This makes StCs the second most used material handling equipment in storage yards. Straddle Carriers are capable of self-lifting and stacking containers. Some container terminals use StCs both for transferring containers between the quay-side and yard-side, and for storing containers at the yard-side. StCs can be easily moved within the terminal based on operational requirements, and layouts are easy to change since no runways are needed. The latest type of self-lifting StCs, see Figure 1, allow the handling of up to three or four containers at the same time

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(approximately 500 750 TEU per hectare) and operate in a completely automated fashion. These Auto Straddle Carrier (AStC) systems are labour ecient and enable high crane productivity since an eective buer zone is created under the STSC. This makes it possible for the STS crane to operate at maximum eciency, thus optimising vessel productivity [15]. Following the material handling equipment decision, one of the problems at the tactical level is the determination of the necessary number of transport vehicles, which is the focus of this paper.

2.2. Optimisation of AStCs for Horizontal Movement of Shipping Containers

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Automated Lifting Vehicles (ALVs) are used for hor- izontal transportation of containers in the yard-side. AStCs belong to the class of ALV and can independently lift and set down containers while AGVs require direct assistance by other yard cranes to complete their horizontal transportation task. A few studies have investigated sizing problem of AStCs at container terminals, with a focus on maximising productivity. Zehendner et al. [16] studied allocation of Straddle Carriers (StCs) in the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille terminal by adopting an optimisation model and developing a discrete event simulation with the aim of reducing delays at the tactical level. Vis et al. [17] developed a minimum flow algorithm of polynomial time to determine the required number of AGVs for horizontal transportation of containers in the yard-side at known time periods. Vis et al. [7] studied the impact of using AGVs and ALVs for the horizontal transportation on unloading times of a ship by means of discrete event simulation. In this study, AGVs and ALVs produced similar unloading times, however, higher number of AGVs (38% more than ALVs) were required to minimise the unloading times. They concluded that the purchasing cost of ALVs is cheaper than AGVs which can have a high impact on the decision process. Vis et al. [18] proposed a integer linear programming model (an- alytical model) for equipment sizing problem within the release and due times and used discrete event simulation to validate their results. Kozan [19] presents a network model for minimising the throughput time of containers from their arrival to their departure. This model is a decision support tool for investment appraisal, rather than for improvements in operational methods. There have been a number of studies on task assignment and scheduling for StCs or AGVs at container terminals at the operational level (e.g. [20, 21, 22, 23]), or scheduling of dierent types of han- dling equipment (e.g., [24, 25, 26, 27]). Scheduling is determination of a number of tasks (i.e. horizontal or vertical movement of containers), the assignment of tasks to resources allocated to them and the sequencing and/or timing of the tasks based on the project horizon. Currently, due to the time it takes to implement and test new algorithms, in practice, equipment sizing for tactical purposes is performed by empirical ratios (e.g. see PIANC [28]) and verified by discrete event simulation at the final design stage. Empirical ratios reflect a standard geometry, which although it has been implemented and studied before, would be hazardous to apply in radi- cally dierent geometries. This paper presents an intermediate step, exploring how the adaptation of queuing theory models to the horizontal transport problem can yield results more tailored to each specific geometry than a simple equipment ratio (e.g. 3 6 AStC to an STSC). Additionally, through the comparative study presented herein, the dierent types of insights aorded by dierent methods can be appreciated.

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3. Case Study of AStCs for Venice Port

A new container terminal is currently being designed for the port of Venice (Italy) by Royal HaskoningDHV in coordination with Venice Port Authority. They are planning to increase the capacity of the current terminal and reduce the vessel dwelling times so that the throughputs of the port of Venice is maximised. The new terminal aims not only at serving mainland Italy, but also a number of customers in central Europe such as Austria, Switzerland, south Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. As shown in Figure 2a, the new port of Venice consists of 3-parts: an o-shore terminal for (un)loading containers, a barge transfer system for feeding said containers to/from the mainland, and an on-shore mainland terminal (called MonteSyndial). This three part structure allows the examination of the horizontal container transportation system at the port of Venice, since the o-shore terminal will operate separately from the on-shore terminal. The layout of the o-shore terminal of the new port of Venice is shown in Figure 2b.

terminal of the new port of Venice is shown in Figure 2b. (a) (b) Figure 2:

(a)

of the new port of Venice is shown in Figure 2b. (a) (b) Figure 2: The

(b)

Figure 2: The new port of Venice: (a) The on-shore and o-shore terminal locations [29] and (b) The o-shore container terminal layout [29]

This paper evaluates the application of AStCs for the horizontal transportation of containers at the o-shore container terminal. As shown in Figure 3, eight STS cranes (maroon colour) and ten barge cranes (blue colour) are assigned for (un)loading containers to/from the vessels on the deep sea side and on the barge side of this terminal in the planning stage. The productivity of the STS cranes is based on the arrival and exit rates of containers to and from the o-shore terminal. The target STS crane productivity is 34 moves on the deep sea side and 30 moves on the barge side 1 . The cycle times are thus 2.00 min and 1.76 min respectively. In order to estimate the number of AStCs required to operate the o-shore terminal at the target throughput, some of the technical and operational assumptions are summarised in Table 1. It is assumed that AStCs do not conduct direct crane-to-crane movements and that each STS crane has its own allocation of AStCs and

hr

hr

1 PIANC [28] reports the range of low, medium and high productivity per STS crane in large container terminals to be between 20 25 moves , 25 30 moves and 30 35 moves respectively.

hr

hr

hr

5

Deep sea side AStC’s route Ship-To-Shore crane Vessel S T Inside the Barge Side Barge
Deep sea side
AStC’s route
Ship-To-Shore crane
Vessel
S
T
Inside the
Barge Side
Barge crane
container stack
Barge side

Corridor

Stacking yard

Figure 3: The o-shore container terminal layout of Venice’s port at the planning stage [30] and the route (green line) that each AStC travels in order to finish one cycle time. The start point is designated as ”S” and the destination as ”T”.

storage area. The average stacking height is set to up to 3 container heights with an extra meter for the safety adjustments. The housekeeping operations are included in the cycle time of a AStC by adding 10% of the vertical movement time to the cycle time. The acceleration/deceleration time of an AStC (i.e. when turning or stopping) is considered in the cycle time by adding 40 s to the horizontal movement time. Trac and safety adjustments are also considered in the cycle time of AStC by adding 20 s to the horizontal movement time. Miscellaneous manoeuvres (i.e. positioning by STS crane) are covered in the cycle time of a AStC by adding 20 s to the horizontal cycle time. Delay is added as 25% of the sum of horizontal and vertical movement times, which is added to the total cycle time of an AStC. It is assumed that each AStC stands by one of the STS cranes in the waiting areas (coloured orange in Figure 3) for storing/retrieving containers at/from the stacking yard-side. The cycle time of AStCs is calculated from the centre of each stack and the longest path is considered. The travel route of the AStCs is marked green with indicators along its entire length in Figure 3, and with the starting point and destination location symbolised with ”S” and ”T”, respectively. The dashed part of the AStC’s route represents the part that is inside the container stack. All types of StCs have higher speeds on corridors than inside container stacks. In order to minimise the in-block travel time, the corridor is used at least once in the route of the AStCs. The travel distance on the outside and inside block are 581.03 m and 38.60 m respectively. A container with 2.600 m height, 2.438 m width and 6.058 m length is considered in this paper. Considering the horizontal and vertical movements and including 25% delay allowance, the final AStC cycle time is about 600 s for the route in Figure 3. Thus, each AStC can finish approximately 10 moves

6

hr

Table 1: Operational assumptions for the AStC operation

Specification of the AStCs [31]

Unit

Value

Maximum travel speed outside the block 85% of the average travel speed outside the block Average travel speed within the block Time for 90 degrees turn Housekeeping Acceleration adjustments Trac and safety adjustments Miscellaneous manoeuvring time Stack average height Maximum lifting speed for unloading Maximum lifting speed for loading Maximum lowering speed for unloading Maximum lowering speed for loading

[ m ] [ m ] [ m ] [s] % [s] [s] [s] [boxes] [ m ] [ m ] [ m ] [ m ]

s

s

s

s

s

s

s

6.94

5.90

1.39

2

10

40

20

20

3

0.33

0.27

0.30

0.25

in the stacking yard.

4. Modelling the AStCs Movements

Queuing theory is commonly used by port operators because of its solid theoretical basis, its ability to provide quick and indicative results in preliminary stages of a project. Queuing theory is also widely used to verify the results of other methods such as simulations. PNs are visual-graphical tools that can be formed to represent any system with discrete number functions. A PN is formulated for the equipment sizing problem in shipping container terminals and performance analysis is used to quantify buer zone requirements (physical constrains) asso- ciated with choosing a number of AStCs. FlexSim CT is an advanced discrete event simulation platform that is designed for detailed simulation of container terminal operations. The software models both the physical attributes of the terminal (e.g. stack layout) and the container handling processes (i.e. the terminal operating system). FlexSim CT Simulation software is used to model the o-shore container terminal and utilise the AStCs with two dierent deployment strategies.

4.1. Queuing Theory

The standard notation established by Kendall [32] for defining every queue in its most basic form is A/B/c/K/m, where A denotes the stochastic arrival time distribution, B represents the stochastic service time distribution, c is the number of operating servers in the system, K denotes the capacity of the queue, and m represents the maximum number of customers. A and B are commonly defined as a Poisson (or exponential) distribution (M), a deterministic value (D) or a general distribution (G). K and m are infinite when they are not defined. For instance, in the M/M/1 queuing system, both arrival and service distributions are a Poisson distribution and one server is operating in the system. In this paper, seven types of queuing system, M/M/1, M/D/1, M/M/c, G/M/1: A specific interarrival distribution (G/M/1[s.i.a.]), G/M/1: The Allen - Cunneen approximation (G/M/1[A

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C]), G/M/c, and M/M/c/K are explored. In the model, the customers are the containers that are (un)loaded from a single STS crane at a rate of 34 moves and 30 moves on the deep sea and barge cranes, respectively. The servers are the AStCs that are assigned to a single STS crane. Using seven queuing theory formulations, the average number of container and waiting times of the system and the queue after assigning 4 6 AStCs per STS crane are calculated. The results are sorted by arrival rate λ in Figures 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d. Table 2 summarises the parameters used in the queuing systems based on the case study. Results for the G/M/1[s.i.a.] and G/M/c queues are grouped for the barge side, as their average approaches 30. It is evident from the results that the examined quantities follow the same trends of improvement as the AStC number increases and λ decreases.

hr

hr

as the AStC number increases and λ decreases. hr hr (a) (c) (b) (d) Figure 4:
as the AStC number increases and λ decreases. hr hr (a) (c) (b) (d) Figure 4:

(a)

as the AStC number increases and λ decreases. hr hr (a) (c) (b) (d) Figure 4:

(c)

the AStC number increases and λ decreases. hr hr (a) (c) (b) (d) Figure 4: Queuing

(b)

AStC number increases and λ decreases. hr hr (a) (c) (b) (d) Figure 4: Queuing model

(d)

Figure 4: Queuing model results: (a) Average number of container in the system per STS crane, (b) Average number of container in the queue per STS crane, (c) Average waiting time in the system per STS crane, and (d) Average container waiting time in the queue per STS crane

If there is a container in the apron and the crane has to lay another one, the crane will need to wait (blocking). The approximate M/M/c/K queuing model was set to calculate the minimum number of AStCs needed to avoid blocking for more than 20% of the time. The productivity rate

(weighted average productivity between deep sea and barge cranes) is considered here.

The maximum size of the system K is set as the number of servers c plus one. This number c + 1

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of 33 moves hr

Table 2: Parameters used in the queuing theories according to the case study

Parameter

Parameter Meaning

 

Deep Sea Side

 

Barge Side

λ

[ moves

hr

]

Arrival rate of STS crane

34

34

34

30

30

30

c

Number of operating AStCs in the system

4

5

6

4

5

6

µ

[ moves

hr

]

Service rate of AStC

10

10

10

10

10

10

ρ

Trac intensity

0.85

0.68

0.57

0.75

0.60

0.50

corresponds to the situation where every AStC is carrying a container and there is one container laid on the transfer position at the apron. The results of this queuing model indicated that with three AStCs assigned to a STS crane, the model is suciently busy (equipment utilisation is 67%) and stable (trac intensity, defined as the ratio of arrival rate divided by number of servers multiplied by the service rate, is about 80%). In this case, the occurrence probability of blocking is 19% (with four containers in circulation) as shown in Figure 5. Having four AStCs assigned to a STS crane will reduce the blocking significantly to about 13% but reduces the equipment utilisation to about

57%.

13% but reduces the equipment utilisation to about 57%. (a) ( b ) Figure 5: Using

(a)

13% but reduces the equipment utilisation to about 57%. (a) ( b ) Figure 5: Using

(b)

Figure 5: Using the M/M/c/K queuing model, (a) blocking probabilities and the number of con- tainers in system when 3 6 ASTcS are assigned to a STS crane and (b) equipment utilisation probabilities [30]

4.2. Using Petri Nets

PNs consist of four elements (place, transition, arc and token) which are summarised in Table 3. In PNs, an area, activity or state of the system can be modelled using a place and the number of instances of a place can be represented with tokens. Sequential processes are modelled with tokens progressing through state machines. Arcs between resource places and transitions represent the acquisition (return) of some resources by a process. In the end, the process state machines can be merged into a model of the whole system by combining the common resource places. In mathematic terms, a PN consists of five parts [33]:

PN = (P, T, F, W, M 0 )

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(1)

Table 3: Petri Net elements

Element

Function

Traditional Representation

Graphical Representation

Place

Area, activity or state of the system Functions linking places Connect places to transitions and vice versa, enforce conditions Counting/controlling medium, the quantifying aspect of the net

Circle Rectangular bar Vector (Arrow or curved arc) Dot

Counting / controlling medium, the quantifying aspect of the net Circle Rectangular bar Vector (Arrow or

Transition

Transition

Arc

Token

Token

P is a finite set of places, P = p 1 , p 2 ,

a finite set of arcs (flow relation) that F P × T T × P. W is a weight function and M 0 is the

initial marking. The essence of the function of PNs is that a transition cannot fired until a series of conditions have been fulfilled:

,

p i . T is a finite set of transitions, T

=

t 1 , t 2 ,

, t j .

F is

The destination place has capacity for incoming tokens.

There are enough tokens available at the input places.

No other transition fires simultaneously.

Other conditions such as time or colour restrictions may apply, depending on the PN type.

One of the most important properties of PNs is that they are memoryless. This is a Markovian

property which entails that any state in a PN is only dependent on the immediately previous one and not the ones before that. PIPE (v4.3.0) [34] is used for modelling horizontal movements in

a container terminal. The PN definitions and transition rates for modelling a full AStC cycle are summarised in Table 4. The created PN model with five deep sea side AStCs and four barge side AStCs at the initial stage and at a random one are shown in Figures 6a and 6b. Here, tokens represent the movements of AStCs.

Table 4: AStC transition rates in PIPE (v4:3:0)

P # : Origin place

T # : Transition

P # : Destination place

Movement type

Net time

Delay time

Final duration [s] [s]

 

[s]

[s]

P 1 : STS Crane Queue

T 1,2 : Safety Clearance

P 2 : Crane Loading Spot

Horizontal

29.24

7.31

36.54

P 2 : Crane Loading Spot T 2,3 : Start Loading P 3 : Loaded

 

Vertical

28.30

7.07

35.37

P 3 : Loaded P 4 : Reach Block Entrance P 5 : Block Destination P 6 : Unloading P 7 : Reach Block Exit

T 3,4 : Depart for Block T 4,5 : Slow Down T 5,6 : Start Unloading T 6,7 : Depart T 7,1 : Speed up

P 4 : Reach Block Entrance

Horizontal

88.07

22.02

110.09

P 5 : Block

Destination

Horizontal

8.29

2.07

10.37

P 6 : Unloading P 7 : Reach Block Exit P 1 : STS Crane Queue

Vertical

37.73

9.43

47.17

Horizontal

8.29

2.07

10.37

Horizontal

88.07

22.02

110.09

 

Total

288.00

72.00

360.00

The results of each analysis for both terminal sides (sea side and barge side) after simulations of 2000 firings and 30 replications are shown with their 95% confidence interval values in Table 5. PN analysis shows that, given the geometry and cycle times, the best option for the AStC queue appears to be four vehicles (1 <average tokens < 2.0). The buer zones calculations can be seen in Table 6 based on the Data Sheet of the Kalmar Electric Straddle Carriers ESC 440 to ESC 460 [31]. The zone dimensions are determined by increasing (combined) vehicle dimensions by

35%.

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Crane Loading Spot STSC Queue Loaded P 2 T 2,3 T 1,2 P 1 T
Crane Loading Spot
STSC Queue
Loaded
P 2
T 2,3
T 1,2
P 1
T 7,1
P 3
P 7
Deep sea side
T 6,7
T 3,4
T
T
4,5
5,6
Reach Entrance Block
Reach Entrance Block
P 4
P 6
Unloading
P 5
Destination Block
Unloading
Barge side
Loaded
STSC Queue

Reach Exit Block

Reach Exit Block

Crane Crane Loading Loading Spot Spot Crane Loading Spot

(a)

STSC Queue Loaded Reach Exit Block Deep sea side Reach Entrance Block Reach Entrance Block
STSC Queue
Loaded
Reach Exit Block
Deep sea side
Reach Entrance Block
Reach Entrance Block
Unloading
Destination Block
Unloading
Barge side
Reach Exit Block
Loaded
Crane Loading Spot
STSC Queue

(b)

Figure 6: The terminal PN at (a) the initial stage and (b) a random stage

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Table 5: Terminal PN simulation results for the average vehicle queue (AStCs)

AStC No.

Average token on the deep sea side

95% confidence interval

Average token on the darge side

95% confidence interval

3 0.72

±0,025

0.72

±0,025

4 1.73

±0,035

1.70

±0,035

5 2.73

±0,033

2.70

±0,033

6 3.73

±0,026

3.71

±0,026

Table 6: Buer zone dimensions per Ship-To-Shore Crane (STS crane)

AStC Number

Combined Vehicle Length [m]

Vehicle Width

Buer Zone Length [m]

Buer Zone Width [m]

 

[m]

1

12.03

16.24

2

24.06

32.48

3

36.09

48.72

4

48.12

5.00

64.96

6.75

5

60.15

81.20

6

72.18

97.44

4.3. Using Discrete Event Simulation

In discrete event simulation the aim is to determine the number of AStCs needed to operate the o-shore terminal at the target throughput and to calculate the o-shore terminal storage area’s size. The simulation model developed in FlexSim CT for the o-shore terminal of Venice can be seen in Figure 7. The model is run with two deployment strategies, gangs and pooling, with varying number of AStCs. For the gangs’ strategy, specific AStCs are assigned to specific deep sea side cranes, ensuring that the AStCs are available for berth operations regardless of vessel arrival times or patterns. Nine AStCs are initially assigned to each STS crane. Housekeeping operations (customs and stack block optimisations) are carried out in AStC idle periods. For the pooling strat- egy, a central pool of AStCs is assigned to dierent tasks based on the order of priority. The same overall number of AStC is applied to the pool as the gangs’ strategy, with these being allocated to dierent berths or stack operations based upon demand. The workload for barges and vessels can be estimated from their schedules, and depends on arrivals and volumes of barges and vessels. The workload for barges and vessels can be estimated from their schedules. In order to best analyse the terminal and its operational characteristics, two scenarios have been investigated. In order to best analyse the terminal and its operational characteristics, two scenarios have been investigated. In scenario 1 - an average vessel schedule, regular vessels arrivals are from a uniform distribution with up to 12 hours maximum variance before or after estimated time of arrival. In scenario 2 - a contingency vessel schedule, two vessels unload and load simultaneously, or one vessel unloads and one vessel loads before the vessel schedule returns to a regular weekly pattern. The two de- ployment strategies, gangs and pooling, are run with the average and contingency scenarios. The equipment utilisation results and the productivity rates are summarised in Table 7. Nine AStCs were initially assigned to each STS crane in order to compare the deployment strategies. Simulations have been made with a number of AStCs pool sizes to compare their eect

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Barge side Deep sea side
Barge side
Deep sea side

Figure 7: The FlexSim simulation model for the o-shore terminal

on utilisation and waiting time (see Table 8). Maintenance routines and breakdowns are not in- cluded in the assessment of equipment numbers here. Instead, the numbers are assumed to be the number of regular equipment available for operations, and additional equipment will be allowed for planned maintenance and breakdowns. A common policy is to acquire an additional 10% of equipment for redundancy to cover maintenance and breakdowns. This equipment is run as much as the regular equipment in turns so that all the machines have regular maintenance and about the same working hours. In order to limit unnecessary congestion and be cost eective, the termi- nal should not keep more AStCs in operation than are required. However, sucient equipment should be available to provide a regular supply to the berth and to not hold up the other parts of the operation. As shown in Table 8, increasing the AStCs pool size beyond 48 (six AStCs per STS crane) will only result in congestion and lengthy queuing at the berth. In Table 9, the simulated STS crane productivities for the berth with 48 AStCs in operation in the central equipment pool is compared to the target STS crane productivities for both the deep sea side and barge side. The mainline berth occupancy over the course of these simulations is relatively low at approxi- mately 40%, reflecting the fact that the regular schedule would have one vessel at a time. The barge berth occupancy is very high at 95% however this is due to the operational rules of the terminal whereby the barge berth is also used as an extended storage buer.

13

Table 7: AStCs utilisation and productivity rate for two deployment strategies (gangs and pooling) with two scenarios (1: An average and 2: A Contingency vessel schedule) [30]

Scenario

Strategy

AStC Utilisation

Deep sea STS crane productivity

Barge crane productivity

 

[%]

[ moves ] hr

[ moves

hr

]

Scenario 1

Gang

38

27

20

Pooling

43

31

24

Scenario 2

Gang

39

27

20

Pooling

44

28

22

Table 8: AStCs utilisation and productivity rate for a pooling strategy with two scenarios (1:An average and 2: A Contingency vessel schedule) [30]

Scenario

AStC pool size

AStC utilisation

[%]

AStC’s average cycle time [min]

Deep sea STS crane productivity

[ moves

hr

]

Barge crane productivity

[ moves

hr

]

Scenario 1

32

77

7

29

23

40

68

9

31

24

48

63

9

31

24

56

57

9

31

24

64

52

9

31

24

Scenario 2

32

78

6

27

20

40

70

7

27

20

48

65

9

29

22

56

58

9

29

22

64

52

9

29

22

Table 9: Simulated STS crane productivities and waiting times (1:An average and 2: A Contin- gency vessel schedule) [30]

Scenario

Berth type

Target STS crane productivity

Average STS crane productivity

Dierence

Average STS crane waiting time [%]

 

[ moves ] hr

[ moves

hr

]

[%]

Scenario 1

Deep Sea

34

31

-9

3

Barge

30

29

-4

3

Scenario 2

Deep Sea

34

29

-15

5

Barge

30

26

-12

3

5. Comparison of AStC Sizing Models

Using dierent queuing theory formulations, average container numbers and waiting times for 4 6 AStCs per STS crane showed a decreasing trend as the AStC number increases and λ de- creases (see Figure 4). Also, the blocking and utilisation analysis using M/M/c/K model for 3 6 AStCs per STS crane suggested selecting three or four AStCs per STS crane in order to have a suciently utilised and stable trac. Queuing theory formulations are easy to implement, adapt to dierent deployment strategies and analysis. They are approximate and moderately conservative though. The probability distribution used in dierent queuing theory formulations for arrival rates cannot reflect the reality. Capturing the coordination between STS cranes and AStCs requires defining strong assumptions (i.e. servers

14

(AStCs) operate simultaneously) as well. Also, the selected queuing discipline greatly aects analysis results and it is not an easy task to find the discipline which reflects the reality closely (i.e. the layout and function of the port). From the results obtained from PNs (see Table 6), four AStCs per STS crane is the optimum solution for both sides (deep sea and barge sides). If three are assigned there will be some time periods without any AStCs standing by the crane (average tokens < 1.0). This might lead to flow disruptions and waiting for the more expensive equipment (cranes and vessels). On the other hand, if five or more AStCs are assigned, it appears that they would form an unnecessarily large queue for operations (average tokens > 2.0), leading to underused equipment (reduced eciency) and needless land occupation. The PN implementation is cost ecient and has great advantages, such as visualisation and easy overview of the system examined, with direct display of its individual parts, and simplification of complex environments. PNs inherently allow one transition at a time, which reduces their abil- ity to model simultaneous processes. Also, they are capable of modelling movements of a single equipment type and not dierent equipment types (i.e. AStCs, barges and containers) simultane- ously. On the other hand, PNs can provide adequate detailed information on the equipment sizing problem and buer zone dimensions. If discrete even simulation is applied, the results obtained from the two operating method- ologies (gang and pooling) show that the utilisation of AStCs in the gang allocation strategy is about 5% less than that in the central pool strategy (see Tables 7, 8, 9). Berth productivity rates are also lower in the gang strategy despite there being the same number of handling equipment. This indicates that the gang strategy, as set up in the model, is less ecient than a central pool strategy. Productivity rates between the average and contingency runs are very similar, however, indicating that the gang strategy handles contingency events more consistently. The utilisation of AStCs in the central pool strategy is also relatively low with this equipment allocation, however, berth productivity is good. The improved productivity is primarily due to the fact that AStCs can be assigned to berth cranes in a more flexibly way with a higher straddle carrier to berth crane ratio when additional straddle carriers are available. The same level of benefit is not observed on the contingency scenario, where berth productivity falls to a similar level to that of the gang strat- egy. Due to the eciency gains associated with the central pool strategy during normal operation scenarios, however, the central pool option was selected for further analysis. Overall, the previous results confirm the well-known conclusion that pooling of equipment shares the workload more evenly and achieves more uniform equipment utilisation. As such, it is expected to yield some equipment eciencies. Given the results in Table 8, increasing the AStCs pool size beyond 48 (six per STS crane) will result in congestion and lengthy queuing at the berth. With 48 AStCs in operation, queues form on the berths during the unloading cycle with the large number of direct deliveries between the deep sea and barge side and the relatively short distances. However, the queues do not negatively impact the berth or yard operation. Discrete simulation models allow realistic investigation of the processes in a terminal, and a full evaluation of the performance of the layout, equipment and deployment strategy. However, devel- oping such a model is time consuming.

15

6. Conclusions

Multi-method approaches provide modelers insights into how common problems may be ad- dressed. This paper presented the equipment sizing problem for the horizontal transportations that take place in terminal ports using AStCs, and presented solutions using queuing theory, PNs and discrete event simulation. The analyses were based on figures and layout from the new container terminal of Venice. It was seen that PNs can replicate a port system in a way that is to a large ex- tent similar to discrete event models. It was demonstrated that queuing theory analysis has serious practical limitations while discrete event simulation is a more powerful, flexible and informative methodology. Certainly, building a complex simulation model of operations in a container ter- minal requires the investment of considerable eort in logic development, debugging, model, and input data collection. Given the dierent eorts required for the three methods, it can be concluded that PN is a fair trade-oand the methodology of choice compared to analytic queuing theory and discrete event simulations for equipment sizing problems.

Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful to Venice Port Authority and Royal HaskoningDHV for providing information and supporting the research described in this paper.

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