Using simulation modelling for optimization of intra-port logistics

Question of using a simulation in the port industry is getting more and more popular within last 5-7 years. There are some big projects which have been already made in this direction. For example, not far from today the company “Anylogic” realized a big project concerning of modelling and optimization of work of railway in the French port of Havre (one of the largest ports in France), modelling of a container terminal in the port of Novorossiysk etc.

The question that has to be answered is what variety of problems can simulation modelling solve for the port industry?

In fact there are no limits for using simulation modelling in solving different complex problems and here we will show just some of it:

  • estimation of a throughput of a coal terminal in dependence to the following parameters:
  1. Intensity of arriving of wagon batch;
  2. Number of  wagon thawing stations;
  3. Capacity of the wagon thawing stations;
  4. Speed of thawing of one wagon batch;
  5. Capacity of one wagon tippler;
  6. Number of wagon tipplers;
  7. Capacity of wagons;
  8. Speed of the conveyor belts;
  9. Number of shiploaders;
  10. Characteristics of shiploaders;
  11. Storage capacities.
  • estimation of a throughput of a coal terminal in dependence to the following parameters:
  1. Intensity of arriving of wagon batch;
  2. Intensity of arriving of trucks;
  3. Speed of sampling;
  4. Speed of unloading of wagons;
  5. Speed of unloading of trucks;
  6. Percentage of rejected wagons and trucks by weight and by quality of cargo;
  7. Number of types of cargo;
  8. Capacity of silos;
  9. Schedule of vessels’ calls;
  10. Proportional allocation by types of cargo (for trucks and wagons).
  • estimation of unloading speed of container vessel in dependence to the following parameters:  
  1. Number of ship-to-shore cranes;
  2. Speed of the ship-to-shore crane;
  3. Speed of movement of the spreader in the horizontal direction;
  4. Speed of movement of the spreader in the vertical direction;
  5. Number of  rows of containers on the vessel in width;
  6. Number of rows of containers on the vessel in length;
  7. Total number of containers on the vessel.


Above-mentioned examples demonstrates just a small part of potential which is in simulation modelling for the port industry.

We can say for sure that the next decades will be a golden age for simulation modelling. Nowadays many companies have departments which are responsible for simulation modelling, which includes the port industry too. Work for optimization of existing sea terminals,  solving problems concerning of buying port equipments, choosing variations for berth constructions etc. on the 1-st stage of design is a great tool which helps investors and designers to simplify the process of understanding their projects. Moreover it makes it possible to simplify understanding work of different technological processes, finding bottlenecks out and optimizing it by changing input parameters. It has to be said that the visualization and demonstrativeness of work of simulation models simplify negotiating with potential investors of big projects and it could become a key factor in deciding who will make the project and by what way the project will develop.

No doubt that soon each big project in the port industry will be painstakingly analyzed with simulation models of it. It will lead to simplifying work of designers, top-managers, investors and all people involved in the projects.