Multi-period yard template planning in container terminals

Lu Zhen, Zhou Xu, Kai Wang, Yi Ding

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


As a tactical level decision-making tool in a port, a yard template determines the assignment of spaces (subblocks) in a yard for arriving vessels, which visit the port periodically. The objective of yard template planning is to minimize the transportation cost of moving containers around the yard. To handle yard template planning, a mixed integer programming model is proposed that also takes into account traffic congestion in the yard. A further complication is that the cycle time of the vessels' periodicities is not uniform and varies among them, perhaps being one week, ten days, or two weeks, etc. However, this multiple cycle time of the periodicities of vessel arrival patterns, which complicates the yard template decision, is also considered in the model. Moreover, a local branching based solution method and a Particle Swarm Optimization based solution method are developed for solving the model. Numerical experiments are also conducted to validate the effectiveness of the proposed model, which can save around 24% of the transportation costs of yard trucks when compared with the commonly used First-Come-First-Served decision rule. Moreover, the proposed solution methods can not only solve the proposed model within a reasonable time, but also obtain near-optimal results with about 0.1–2% relative gap.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-719
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Congestion
  • Container terminals
  • Maritime logistics
  • Port operation
  • Yard template

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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