Competition between container terminals is becoming fiercer, and because of this handling fees have plummeted. Since it is becoming more and more difficult for terminal operators to maintain even mediocre profit rates, they are increasingly focused on optimizing resources like berths, machines, and the workforce.
Terminal optimization involves the following essential elements: Minimization of vessel turn-around time, berthing of as many vessels as possible, minimization of machine idle time and travel distance, assigning enough gangs to finish vessel operations on time, meeting the target productivity rate, there are many optimization theories such as vessel planning optimization and yard block optimization.
These can be implemented to optimize terminal maintenance in line with the above goals, however terminals tend to face unexpected issues after implementing certain solutions.
For example, vessel operational productivity can be enhanced if containers are allocated in blocks near the vessel, but this can create a problem, as allocating containers in blocks near the vessel eventually leads to a time gap between the containers already earmarked for loading jobs and newly allocated containers. Either the loading plan must be adjusted or re-handling must occur within the blocks.