Terminal appointment system design by non-stationary M(t)/Ek/c(t) queueing model and genetic algorithm

Gang Chen, Kannan Govindan, Zhong Zhen Yang, Tsan Ming Choi, Liping Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Long truck queue is a common problem at big marine container terminals, where the resources and equipment are usually scheduled to serve ships prior to trucks. To reduce truck queues, some container terminals adopt terminal appointment system (TAS) to manage truck arrivals. This paper addresses two implementation scenarios of TAS: static TAS (STAS) and dynamic TAS (DTAS). First, a non-stationary M(t)/Ek/c(t) queueing model is used to analyse a terminal gate system, and solved with a new approximation approach. Then, genetic algorithm is applied to optimise the hourly quota of entry appointments in STAS for the derived queueing model. Lastly to relax the assumption of knowing the truckers' preferred arrival pattern in STAS, we propose the concept of DTAS, which is much easier to apply and can assist individual trucker in making appointment by providing real-time estimation of waiting time based on existing appointments. Our analysis reveals DTAS can significantly increase the system flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-703
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Appointment system
  • Container terminal
  • Dynamic arrival management
  • Non-stationary queue
  • Optimisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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