A fresh look at container terminal simulation and its application in academic research


Container terminal simulation has long been recognised as a powerful tool by researchers and practitioners alike. As automation technologies have evolved past the early-adopter stage and are now considered by an increasing number of port operators, the use of large and detailed simulation models has become the norm in the industry. Their use in the planning stages of a new terminal can assist in streamlining the operation of the port, help identify and resolve potential performance bottlenecks even before the construction of the port has been completed. Due to the complexity and unique nature of the every port, these are commonly purpose-build for specific deployments, and given the amount of detail offered, they are costly to develop and maintain. The paper begins with an overview of past work in the simulation of container ports. These are reviewed and assessed in terms of their applicability for different research contexts. Port emulation, a recent approach that is becoming increasingly popular among industrial circles is also discussed. The paper then proceeds with the discussion of Limen, a novel research-oriented port simulation and assessment tool developed that was developed based on the review.