The impacts of time segment modeling in berth allocation and quay crane assignment on terminal efficiency

Hoi Lam Ma, Zhengxu Wang, S. H. Chung, Felix T.S. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to study the impacts of time segment modeling approach for berth allocation and quay crane (QC) assignment on container terminal operations efficiency. Design/methodology/approach: The authors model the small time segment modeling approach, based on minutes, which can be a minute, 15 min, etc. Moreover, the authors divided the problem into three sub-problems and proposed a novel three-level genetic algorithm (3LGA) with QC shifting heuristics to deal with the problem. The objective function here is to minimize the total service time by using different time segments for comparison and analysis. Findings: First, the study shows that by reducing the time segment, the complexity of the problem increases dramatically. Traditional meta-heuristic, such as genetic algorithm, simulated annealing, etc., becomes not very promising. Second, the proposed 3LGA with QC shifting heuristics outperforms the traditional ones. In addition, by using a smaller time segment, the idling time of berth and QC can be reduced significantly. This greatly benefits the container terminal operations efficiency, and customer service level. Practical implications: Nowadays, transshipment becomes the main business to many container terminals, especially in Southeast Asia (e.g. Hong Kong and Singapore). In these terminals, vessel arrivals are usually very frequent with small handling volume and very short staying time, e.g. 1.5 h. Therefore, a traditional hourly based modeling approach may cause significant berth and QC idling, and consequently cannot meet their practical needs. In this connection, a small time segment modeling approach is requested by industrial practitioners. Originality/value: In the existing literature, berth allocation and QC assignment are usually in an hourly based approach. However, such modeling induces much idling time and consequently causes low utilization and poor service quality level. Therefore, a novel small time segment modeling approach is proposed with a novel optimization algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-992
Number of pages25
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2019


  • Berth allocation
  • QC shifting heuristics
  • Time steps
  • Transshipment
  • Variable-in-time quay crane assignment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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