TBA Group is an international provider of software and services for ports, terminals and warehouses with over 150 live installations worldwide. They concentrate on marine, intermodal, container and bulk terminals as well as providing software for warehouses.
To give a glimpse in the life of a TBA professional, they prepared an optimization problem based on their real work as OR consultants. In teams of 3 or 4 we had to design the ideal quay for a harbor. The ideal quay serves as many containerships as possible with minimal costs.. A lot of variables should be taken into account when handling containerships. There is not only information regarding to the vessels itself such as their schedule, size, capacity, how many cranes could be used on them and so forth. We also had a lot of information regarding costs. When the quay is not big enough and the ships could not moor, a fine had to be paid. Also costs of building the quay and costs for the cranes should be taken into account. There were also different types of cranes, some are faster than others, but the faster ones cost more. So there were a lot of things involved in designing the ideal quay. Every group had to think of a length of the quay and how many cranes per type they wanted, given the informations about incoming ships.
Being new to the job, our first guess was simulated to check if we were heading in the right direction. We got information on what percentage of the quay was actually used, how productive our cranes were and how many boats we were not able to help. With this new knowledge we were able to improve our quay.
After some improvements, we concluded by using another simulation which team did design the best quay. The team with the lowest costs was the winner of the case.
Written by Denise van Dijk