Managing navigation channel traffic and anchorage area utilization of a container port

Shuai Jia, Chung Lun Li, Zhou Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Navigation channels are fairways for vessels to travel in and out of the terminal basin of a container port. The capacity of a navigation channel is restricted by the number of traffic lanes and safety clearance of vessels, and the availability of a navigation channel is usually affected by tides. The limited capacity and availability of a navigation channel could lead to congestion in the terminal basin. When the navigation channels run out of capacity, the anchorage areas in the terminal basin could serve as a buffer. This paper aims to develop a mathematical model that simultaneously optimizes the navigation channel traffic and anchorage area utilization. We provide a mixed integer programming formulation of the problem, analyze its complexity, and propose a Lagrangian relaxation heuristic in which the relaxed problem is decomposed into two asymmetric assignment problems. Computational performance of the Lagrangian relaxation heuristic is tested on problem instances generated based on the operational data of a port in Shanghai. Computational results show that the proposed heuristic is able to achieve satisfactory performance within a reasonable computation time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-745
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Anchorage areas
  • Lagrangian relaxation
  • Navigation channels
  • Port operations
  • Vessel traffic service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation

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