Maritime Economics & Logistics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 125–145 | Cite as

Optimization of truck appointments in container terminals

  • Xiaoju Zhang
  • Qingcheng ZengEmail author
  • Zhongzhen Yang
Original Article


Truck appointment has proved to be an efficient tool in reducing congestion at container terminals. To make a reasonable appointment quota plan, it is necessary to take terminal operations into consideration. We develop a novel approach (model) for optimizing a truck appointment system with the objective of decreasing external trucks’ waiting times, at the gate and yard, and internal trucks’ waiting times at the yard. The vacation queuing model is used to describe the coordinated service process of yard cranes. Based on non-stationary queuing theory, truck waiting times are estimated more accurately. Numerical experiments are conducted to illustrate the validity of the model and algorithm. Results show that the model reflects the characteristics of the service process of yard cranes and it improves the calculation accuracy of the truck waiting time.


Container terminals Truck appointment system Internal schedules Non-stationary queuing theory 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees and editor-in-chief for their careful reading and constructive suggestions. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant Nos. 71671021 and 71431001], and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 3132016302).


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Maritime Economics and ManagementDalian Maritime UniversityDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Faculty of Maritime and TransportationNingbo UniversityNingboPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.National Traffic Management Engineering & Technology Research Centre Ningbo University Sub-centreNingboPeople’s Republic of China

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