In this paper we consider the problem of integrated scheduling of various types of handling equipment at an automated container terminal in a dynamic environment. This means that the handling times are not known exactly beforehand and that the order in which the different pieces of equipment handle the containers need not be specified completely in advance. Instead, (partial) schedules may be updated when new information on realizations of handling times becomes available. We present an optimization based Beam Search heuristic and several dispatching rules. An extensive computational study is carried out to investigate the performance of these solution methods under different scenarios. The main conclusion is that, in our tests, the Beam Search heuristic performs best on average, but that some of the relatively simple dispatching rules perform almost as good. Furthermore, our study indicates that it is effective important to base a planning on a long horizon with inaccurate data, than to update the planning often in order to take newly available information into account.

beam search, container terminal, dispatching rules, dynamic scheduling
Mathematical Methods and Programming: Other (jel C69), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Production Management (jel M11), Transportation Systems (jel R4)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Copyright 2001, P.J.M. Meersmans, A.P.M. Wagelmans, This report in the ERIM Report Series Research in Management is intended as a means to communicate the results of recent research to academic colleagues and other interested parties. All reports are considered as preliminary and subject to possibly major revisions. This applies equally to opinions expressed, theories developed, and data used. Therefore, comments and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to the authors.
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Meersmans, P.J.M, & Wagelmans, A.P.M. (2001). Dynamic Scheduling of Handling Equipment at Automated Container Terminals (No. ERS-2001-69-LIS). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from