A Branch-and-Price Algorithm for the Integrated Berth Allocation and Quay Crane Assignment Problem

This paper integrates, from a tactical perspective, berth allocation and quay-crane assignment, two important, closely related decisions in container terminal operations in a single model. To obtain optimal solutions, a branch-and-price algorithm is sought in this paper under the framework of Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition. The algorithm decomposes the original problem to a master problem that links all vessels competing for the shared resources of berths and quay cranes and multiple per-vessel pricing subproblems that can be solved efficiently in polynomial time. Specifically, in the stage of generating promising initial feasible columns, three heuristics are adopted; during the column-updating stage, the subgradient-based Lagrangian relaxation is introduced to tackle the possibly encountered degeneracy phenomenon; the branching strategy is implemented in the pricing subproblem rather than in the master problem as reported in the literature with the benefit of avoiding incurring new dual prices, simplifying the branching process; and both breadth- and depth-first searching policies are tested to select the next node to explore. With real-life data, extensive numerical experiments are conducted to select the best choice for each stage with the strengths and drawbacks of each choice provided. And then the superiority of the branch-and-price algorithm configured with the selected combination of strategies is verified by comparing it with both CPLEX, a general-purpose solver, and a set-partitioning model, a dedicated algorithm reported in the literature. In addition, the decomposition by vessels adopted in this paper is also verified numerically by comparing it with the decomposition by berths reported in the literature, and the performance of the algorithm for other problem settings has also been tested. In conclusion, the numerical experiments show that the authors' method outperforms the commercial solver and state-of-the-art solution methods reported in the literature in terms of both solution quality and computational time.

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    • Abstracts reprinted with permission of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, http://www.informs.org).
  • Authors:
    • Xie, Fanrui
    • Wu, Tao
    • Zhang, Canrong
  • Publication Date: 2019-9

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01718728
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 3 2019 4:04PM