Management of truck transport in a port area is important for Chinese container ports as heavy traffic congestion not only limits the terminal capacity but also generates serious air pollution. This paper explores an effective way to manage the truck traffic of export containers based on a time window management programme that is widely used in Chinese terminals to facilitate terminal and truck delivery operations. Firstly, the arrangement of time windows is assumed to follow the principle of minimizing transport costs. A cost function is defined that includes the costs of truck and driver waiting time, fuel consumption associated with truck idling, storage time of the containerized cargos and yard fee. Secondly, to minimize the total cost, a heuristic is developed based on a genetic algorithm to find a near optimal time window arrangement. The optimized solution involves the position and the length of each time window. Finally, the model and the heuristic are tested using real data from a Chinese container terminal, and the result indicates that optimization of the time window can effectively flatten the peak traffic of export container trucks - one of the primary causes of road traffic congestion in port areas.
Maritime Economics and Logistics, 2010, Vol 12, Issue 1, p. 111-126
container terminal, gate congestion, truck arrival, export container and time window optimization