Joint planning for yard storage space and home berths in container terminals

Ming Kun Li, Tsz Leung Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Yard planning is essential for efficient operations in container terminals, especially for ports with limited storage space. To improve the utilisation of space and the efficiency of container handling in a terminal, operators require flexible yard space planning strategies to manage job workloads and yard-to-berth transportation costs. In previous studies, the inter-related decision making process for berths and yards has normally been studied separately, and yard planning models are designed with deterministic inputs of berths, where many existing terminals are operating with sub-optimal efficiency. In this paper, we consider different policies of the scattered stacking strategy for export containers and analyse the entire cycle of container handling from yard block to home berth, where the home berth is a quay section which includes the preferred berthing place of a vessel upon its arrival. We analyse three stacking policies, namely exclusive, cross-area, and buffer-area stacking policies, and formulate the planning problem for yard storage and related home berths into MILP (mixed integer linear programming) models. Solutions are obtained with a two-stage approach method. The numerical analysis demonstrates that the workload imbalance can be significantly reduced by implementing either the cross-area or buffer-area container stacking policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3143-3155
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • Container stacking
  • Container terminal
  • Integer programming
  • Logistics
  • Simulation
  • Yard planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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