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167830-1 Report Abstract

Methodologies for Reducing Truck Turn Time at Marine Container Terminals

Nathan N. Huynh and C. Michael Walton, University of Texas at Austin, May 2005, 146 pp. (167830-1)

One of the prominent issues container terminal operators in the US are seeking to address is how to effectively reduce truck turn time. Historically, truck turn time has received very little attention from terminal operators because port congestion has never been a barrier to their operations. However, with the recent explosive growth in containerized trade, terminals are straining to accommodate the truck traffic that moves through them. The heavy intermodal truck traffic is not only causing problems for terminal operators but for the public as well. The emissions from idling trucks are a hazard to people working and living in and around the terminals. With containerized trade volume expected to double in the next ten years, the problems associated with port congestion could get worse if measures are not taken to address the source of the problems.

Terminals in some areas of the US are now required by state law to expedite the flow of trucks through their terminals. In California, any truck that idles for more than thirty minutes will result in a $250 fine to the terminal operator. This law has prompted terminal operators to look for ways to move trucks through their terminals faster, not just to avoid paying the fine, but also to lower the inland transportation cost of shipping a container via their terminals to remain competitive.

This research investigates the two measures terminal operators are taking to reduce their terminals’ truck turn time. The first measure is investing in additional yard cranes to facilitate the handling of containers. To this end, this research seeks to assist terminal operators in deciding whether or not to make the investment. Statistical and simulation methodologies are developed to better understand the availability of yard cranes versus truck turn time. The second measure is implementing a truck appointment system to regulate the number of trucks into the terminal. To this end, this research seeks to assist terminal operators in evaluating the consequences of limiting truck arrivals into the terminals. Furthermore, this research develops a methodology to assist terminal operators in implementing the truck appointment system, should they decided to have one.

Keywords: Robust Optimization, Simulation, Marine Container Terminals, Port Congestion, Container Throughput, Truck Turn Time, Yard Cranes, Arena

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 2.6 MB)