A break-even model for evaluating the cost of container ships waiting times and berth unproductive times in automated quayside operations

The planning, design and development of a container terminal with optimum size and capacity and with a minimum capital cost is fundamentally dependent upon the loading and discharging operations at the quayside. The quayside function of container terminals is dependent basically on the number of berths available to service the incoming container ships. The objective of the container terminals dealing and admitting the ongoing ship calls is to provide immediate berth and loading and discharging services to the container ships with a minimum costly waiting time and a maximum efficiency. Previously terminal planners used to build extra berths to provide service. During the last two decades the terminal operators have adopted automation technologies in loading and discharging operation of the container ships as an alternative to designing extra berths. Ship owners naturally expect least waiting times for their container ships. On the other hand, it is also natural for port operators in a container terminal with costly facilities to see a high berth occupancy and productivity at the quayside. This study uses queuing theory to find a break-even point as a way of evaluating the cost of container ship waiting times and the cost of berth unproductive service times for container terminals aiming to automate their quayside operation. The analysis illustrates that automation devices installed on conventional Quayside Cranes (QSCs) significantly reduce the turnaround time of the container ships calling at the ports. It argues, however, that there should be a balance between the cost of berth unproductive service times and the cost of vessel waiting times. The study introduces a break-even point to be considered as a benchmark for calculating such a balance. The analysis in this study can be used as a decision tool for the operators of container terminals in the medium to small ports to appraise the feasibility of an investment in automation or expansion of the quayside facilities.


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  • Accession Number: 01609223
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2016 9:18AM