Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 2–3, pp 300–330 | Cite as

Optimized allocation of straddle carriers to reduce overall delays at multimodal container terminals

  • Elisabeth Zehendner
  • Gloria Rodriguez-Verjan
  • Nabil Absi
  • Stéphane Dauzère-Pérès
  • Dominique Feillet


Increased global container trade and strong competition are boosting the need for efficient container terminals. Using internal transport resources efficiently reduces transfer times and operating costs. This article addresses the allocation of straddle carriers at a tactical level at intermodal container terminals via optimization and simulation. Our objective is to reduce overall delays at the terminal—with special focus on delays of inland transport modes (rail, road and waterway). We introduce a notation to describe different service strategies and delay criteria and analyze the complexity of different service strategies. A generic mixed integer linear program—that can be easily adapted to different service strategies—models the allocation problem based on a network flow representation of the terminal. We conduct a case study for a container terminal at the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille to evaluate the proposed allocation: we adapt the optimization model to the specific terminal, implement a discrete event simulation model and conduct experiments on actual data. Results show that the allocation proposed by the optimization model reduces delays at the terminal and performs well in a stochastic environment.


Intermodal transportation Container terminal Resource allocation Straddle carriers Mixed integer programming Discrete event simulation 



Part of this work has been conducted within the ESPRIT Project, financed by the Mission Transports Intelligents of the DGITM (Direction Générale des Infrastructures, des Transports et de la Mer) of the MEEDDM (Ministére de l’Ecologie, de l’Energie, du Développement Durable et de la Mer). The authors would like to thank Christophe Reynaud from Marseille Gyptis International for his precious advice. We would also like to thank the reviewers for their thorough reviews and their helpful suggestions that made it possible to improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Zehendner
    • 1
  • Gloria Rodriguez-Verjan
    • 1
  • Nabil Absi
    • 1
  • Stéphane Dauzère-Pérès
    • 1
  • Dominique Feillet
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Manufacturing Sciences and Logistics, CMP, Site Georges CharpakEcole des Mines de Saint-EtienneGardanneFrance

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