OR Spectrum

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 611–630 | Cite as

Inventory-based dispatching of automated guided vehicles on container terminals

  • Dirk BriskornEmail author
  • Andreas Drexl
  • Sönke Hartmann
Regular Article


This paper deals with automated guided vehicles (AGVs) which transport containers between the quay and the stack on automated container terminals. The focus is on the assignment of transportation jobs to AGVs within a terminal control system operating in real time. First, we describe a rather common problem formulation based on due times for the jobs and solve this problem both with a greedy priority rule based heuristic and with an exact algorithm. Subsequently, we present an alternative formulation of the assignment problem, which does not include due times. This formulation is based on a rough analogy to inventory management and is solved using an exact algorithm. The idea behind this alternative formulation is to avoid estimates of driving times, completion times, due times, and tardiness because such estimates are often highly unreliable in practice and do not allow for accurate planning. By means of simulation, we then analyze the different approaches. We show that the inventory-based model leads to better productivity on the terminal than the due-time-based formulation.


Container logistics Container terminal Automated guided vehicles Dispatching Assignment problem Simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Briskorn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Drexl
    • 1
  • Sönke Hartmann
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Lehrstuhl für Produktion und LogistikChristian-Albrechts-Universität zu KielKielGermany
  2. 2.HPC Hamburg Port Consulting GmbH, HHLA Container Terminal BurchardkaiHamburgGermany
  3. 3.HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder GmbHHamburgGermany

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