A deep learning approach for port congestion estimation and prediction

Wenhao Peng, Xiwen Bai, Dong Yang, Kum Fai Yuen, Junfeng Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study proposes high-frequency container port congestion measures based on Automatic Identification System (AIS) data. Vessel movement information of 3,957 container ships from March 2017 to April 2017 is included. The world top 20 container ports’ berth and anchorage areas are identified through Density Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise (DBSCAN) and convex hull methods, and their hourly port congestion statuses are depicted in terms of the traffic volume and turnaround time. The constructed congestion measures overcome the disadvantages of the traditionally used port or industry data, which is heterogenous, behind the time and not easy to obtain publicly. The higher frequency (hourly) of the proposed measures can effectively monitor any slight change in port performance. A Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) neural network model is then proposed for congestion prediction using constructed congestion measures. Point prediction and sequence prediction are both performed. We innovatively introduce congestion propagation effects into the prediction model as input features. Using Shanghai, Singapore and Ningbo ports as case studies, results show that the inclusion of congestion propagation effect can improve the prediction performance especially for sequence prediction. This study provides significant implications and decision support for container shipping market participants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaritime Policy and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • AIS data
  • congestion propagation effect
  • LSTM
  • Port congestion measures
  • port congestion prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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