Container terminal gate appointment system optimization

Changqian Guan, Rongfang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


As a consequence of continuing growth of container volume and the introduction of 12 000 TEU plus containerships into major trade routes, the port industry is under pressure to come up with the necessary capacity to accommodate the increasing freight volume. One critical issue is the marine terminal gate capacity. Limited gate capacity leads to congestion. The harbor trucking industry operates in a very competitive environment; gate congestion is detrimental to their economic well-being. This article applies a multi-server queuing model to analyze marine terminal gate congestion and quantify truck waiting cost. An optimization model is developed to balance the gate operating cost and truckers cost associated with excessive waiting time. The model is tested using data from field observations. A case study is applied to analyze gate congestion behavior and truck waiting cost. Model sensitivity is discussed. The results indicate that truck waiting cost at marine terminal gates is an issue that needs to be addressed. A truck appointment system seems to be the most viable way to reduce gate congestion and increase system efficiency. With an optimized appointment system, the total system costs, especially truck waiting cost, can be drastically reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-398
Number of pages21
JournalMaritime Economics and Logistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transportation
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


  • Appointment system
  • Container terminal
  • Gate operation
  • Multi-server queuing model
  • Optimization
  • Waiting cost


Dive into the research topics of 'Container terminal gate appointment system optimization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this