Managing Customer Arrivals with Time Windows: A Case of Truck Arrivals at a Congested Container Terminal

Gang Chen, Liping Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Due to increasing container traffic and mega-ships, many seaports face challenges of huge amounts of truck arrivals and congestion problem at terminal gates, which affect port efficiency and generate serious air pollution. To solve this congestion problem, we propose a solution of managing truck arrivals with time windows based on the truck-vessel service relationship, specifically trucks delivering containers for the same vessel share one common time window. Time windows can be optimized with different strategies. In this paper, we first propose a framework for installing this solution in a terminal system, and second develop an optimization model for scaling time windows with three alternative strategies: namely fixed ending-point strategy (FEP), variable end-point strategy and greedy algorithm strategy. Third, to compare the strategies in terms of effectiveness, numerical experiments are conducted based on real data. The result shows that (1) good planning coordination is essential for the proposed method; and (2) FEP is found to be a better strategy than the other two.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)349–365
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Container terminal operations
  • Gate congestion
  • Truck arrivals
  • Time window
  • Optimization

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