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Title: Optimal Planning of Container Terminal Operations
Author: Ma , Nang Laik
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 5288
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2008
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Due to globalization and international trade, moving goods using a mixture of transportation modes has become a norm; today, large vessels transport 95% of the international cargos. In the first part of this thesis, the emphasis is on the sea-land intermodal transport. The availability of different modes of transportation (rail/road/direct) in sea-land intermodal transport and container flows (import, export, transhipment) through the terminal are considered simultaneously within a given planning time horizon. We have also formulated this problem as an Integer Programming (IP) model and the objective is to minimise storage cost, loading and transportation cost from/to the customers. To further understand the computational complexity and performance of the model, we have randomly generated a large number of test instances for extensive experimentation of the algorithm. Since, CPLEX was unable to find the optimal solution for the large test problems; a heuristic algorithm has been devised based on the original IP model to find near 'optimal' solutions with a relative error of less than 4%. Furthermore, we developed and implemented Lagrangian Relaxation (LR) of the IP formulation of the original problem. The bounds derived from LR were improved using sub-gradient optimisation and computational results are presented. In the second part of the thesis, we consider the combined problems of container assignment and yard crane (YC) deployment within the container terminal. A new IP formulation has been developed using a unified approach with the view to determining optimal container flows and YC requirements within a given planning time horizon. We designed a Branch and Cut (B&C) algorithm to solve the problem to optimality which was computationally evaluated. A novel heuristic approach based on the IP formulation was developed and implemented in C++. Detailed computational results are reported for both the exact and heuristic algorithms using a large number of randomly generated test problems. A practical application of the proposed model in the context of a real case-study is also presented. Finally, a simulation model of container terminal operations based on discrete-event simulation has been developed and implemented with the view of validating the above optimisation model and using it as a test bed for evaluating different operational scenarios.
Supervisor: Hadjiconstantinou, Eleni Sponsor: Imperial Business School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral