A review of container terminal simulation models

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Simulation has been an integral part of research and development work in container terminal operations. The sheer size of the facilities and the complexity of equipment used make it difficult to predict analytically how the terminal will operate under specific layouts and configurations. Control techniques which relate to the dynamic behaviour of the equipment are even more difficult to analyse and benchmark, therefore necessitating the presence of a tool that can replicate the behaviour of a real terminal. This paper provides an overview of the domain of container terminal simulation. It discusses several model classifications and presents technical concerns in their development. A review of academic container terminal models is conducted, which includes both models that have served as primary study objectives or simply as test-beds for work on terminal control/planning. These are classified where possible in accordance to the categories that have been previously identified. Finally, current trends in container terminal simulation are discussed, and recommendations are given on the design and selection of the approach to be employed on new models.

Maritime Policy and Management