School Seminars and Colloquia

Container Terminals as an Integral Part of Global Supply Chains - A survey of Operations Research Approaches

AMSI / ASOR Seminar

by Stefan Voss

Institution: The University of Hamburg, Germany
Date: Wed 1st March 2006
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Theatre 2, Ground Floor, ICT Building (111 Barry St, Carlton)

Abstract: Transporting goods and respective logistics are amongst the most crucial success factors of current supply chains. In the last four decades the container as an essential part of a unit-load-concept has achieved undoubted importance in international sea freight transportation. With ever increasing containerization, the number of seaport container terminals and the competition among them have become quite remarkable. Operations are nowadays unthinkable without effective and efficient use of information technology as well as appropriate optimization (operations research) methods.

Containers came into the market for international conveyance of sea freight almost five decades ago. The breakthrough was achieved with large investments in specially designed ships, adapted seaport terminals with suitable equipment, and availability of containers. Today over 60% of the world's deep-sea general cargo is transported in containers, whereas some routes are even containerized up to 100%. International containerization market analysis still shows high increasing rates for container freight transportation in the future based on an increased importance of globalization in supply chain management. This leads to higher demands on seaport container terminals, container logistics and management as well as on technical equipment, resulting in an increased competition between seaports. The seaports mainly compete for ocean carrier patronage and short sea operators as well as for the land-based truck and railroad services. The competitiveness of a container seaport is marked by different success factors, particularly the time in port for ships, combined with low rates for loading and discharging. Therefore, a crucial competitive advantage is the rapid turnover of the containers, which corresponds to a reduction of a ship's time in port and of the costs of the transshipment process itself.

In recent years the number of publications and the methodological advances regarding container terminal operations have considerably increased. In this presentation we describe and classify the main logistics processes and operations in container terminals and provide a survey on related methods.


Professor Dr. Stefan Voss is chair and director of the Institute of Information Systems of the University of Hamburg (Germany) since 2002. Prof. Vo=DF holds degrees in Mathematics (diploma) and Economics from the University of Hamburg and a Ph.D. and the habilitation from the University of Technology Darmstadt. Previous positions include full professor and head of the department of Business Administration, Information Systems and Information Management at the University of Technology Braunschweig (Germany), 1995-2002.

The main areas of expertise of Professor Vo=DF relate to the fields Information Systems, Supply Chain Management, Telecommunications, Public Mass Transit, and Logistics as well as Intelligent Search. He has an international reputation as a result of numerous publications in these fields. Current research projects are, among others, considering problem formulations in the field of Information Systems in Transport, Supply Chain Management as well as Meta- Heuristics and Intelligent Search Algorithms in practical applications.

Prof. Voss is member of several national and international scientific associations and participates in advisory boards and editorships for academic journals such as INFORMS Journal on Computing and Journal of Heuristics. His list of publications includes more than 200 scientific papers and books. Among numerous guest professorships, e.g. in Graz (Austria) and Valenciennes (France) he is also regularly engaged in executive training and consulting projects.

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