Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation - (Ph.D.)


Executive Committee for the Interdisciplinary Program in Transportation

First Advisor

Lazar Spasovic

Second Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas

Third Advisor

I-Jy Steven Chien

Fourth Advisor

Janice Rhoda Daniel

Fifth Advisor

Sanchoy K. Das


In the presence of major challenges, where ports are striving to improve their operation and stay competitive in the global market, the issue of port efficiency, particularly the intelligent management of straddle carriers is investigated in this study. A new approach is presented that optimizes container handling equipment operation and is beneficial for the terminal operator in terms of improving productivity, providing faster service and reducing operating cost, Also, the solution provides acceptable service for truckers, The operational strategies presented are able to assess the operation from the truckers' and terminal operators' perspective.

The research is structured into four different scenarios that use an assignment logic and scheduling methodology to describe the continuous time dependable assignment process of straddle carriers to trucks. In doing so it provides the solution to the question that this dissertation poses. The assignment models used in an attempt to answer the research question are stated as follows:

  • A model is developed to assign straddle carriers to trucks based on the First Come First Served (FCFS) Rule, This is the baseline model and other algorithms will try to improve upon this solution.
  • Two different applications of the Hungarian Algorithm are used for the straddle carrier to truck assignment problem. The first implementation of the Hungarian Algorithm does not consider truck waiting time. The second model implements the truck priority rule into the assignment procedure.
  • Finally, a heuristic implementation of the implicit enumeration procedure develops the sequence of jobs assigned to straddle carriers that will minimize the total distance travelled by them.

The concept of a planning period is introduced for models where theHungarian Algorithm and the Heuristic with Integer Enumeration are used.The planning period is defined as a time interval within which one canfind the optimal solution to the straddle assignment problem. The assumptionthat by introducing a planning period and thus taking advantage of knowntruck-container pairs provides better allocation of straddle carriersto trucks is investigated and the answers to questions that this dissertationaddresses are presented. An analysis is presented that utilizes theknowledge of the truck arrival rate to determine the optimal straddlecarrier fleet size and the duration of the planning period. The resultscan be used by port terminal management to develop an optimal straddlecarrier deployment strategy and planning period that will minimize thetotal cost of operation.

The framework is designed to answer questions of interest to port terminalmanagement, and to investigate the trade-off between the cost of operationand the service provided to trucks. The analysis presents guidelinesfor pricing strategy if an appointment system is implemented.



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