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Decision support based automatic container sequencing system using heuristic rules

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Container terminals in seaports constitute interfaces between the seaborne transport and transport-over-land of goods in global transport chains. The loading and unloading of containers are performed using quay cranes (QCs), which is the most important equipment for handling servicing vessels at a container terminal. Following tremendous growth in global container transshipments, terminals are facing increasing demand. Terminals at Shanghai are equipped with Tandem Lift which can lift two 40’ containers simultaneously to improve the efficiency of the QCs. A reasonable container combinations of Tandem Lift and container operation sequence are required to improve the servicing of vessels, meanwhile the dual cycling container operation of quay cranes has to be investigated. This paper presents a two-stage mathematical model and two-level heuristic algorithm for planning the container operation sequence using Tandem Lift in a feasible computational time. Based on the proposed methodology, a decision support system, called the Tandem Lift Container Sequence System (TLCSS). A case study of Shanghai Shengdong International Port Company (SSICT) proves that consideration of the container sequence with Tandem Lift dramatically shortens servicing time of vessels with the TLCSS.

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We would like to express our gratitude to all the employees at SSICT for their full support in this project. In particular, we thank Mrs. Liang Hong Shen, senior manager of the information department, for her valuable suggestions on modeling and system implementation. This project is partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. [71301101] [11302125].

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Correspondence to Yi Ding.

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Ding, Y., Wei, X., Yang, Y. et al. Decision support based automatic container sequencing system using heuristic rules. Cluster Comput 20, 239–252 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10586-016-0678-2

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  • Container terminal
  • Quay cranes
  • Tandem Lift
  • Container sequence