Travel Time Reduction Through Real-time Container Truck Assignment

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Truck container transport from and to terminals in the port of Rotterdam is far from optimal. This is caused by a lack of communication and thus a lack of (reliable) information. On top of that, the different parties involved have different priorities. In this research the goal was to build a Multi-Agent truck time slotting proof of concept for terminals in the port of Rotterdam in order to demonstrate the use of information sharing for decreasing the total travel time. Based on literature and field research, we came up with two potential improvements which would decrease travel time of trucks, without having a significant impact on the structure in the port as a whole (which makes the solutions easier to implement). We tested these suggested improvements in simulation. The first improvement deals with the sharing of information with regard to arrival and travel times, which are represented in waiting pro les. By sharing this information, transport companies are enabled to decrease their travel times by making better decisions. The second improvement involved the `loosening' of the truck-container coupling. When a truck is ordered to pick up a container it may be a time-saving move, because of changed circumstances, to pick up another container than initially intended. Implementing this possibility unfortunately did not decrease the travel times. This is explainable due to limitations of the simulation. The results show some promise with regard to improvements without significant changes to the current situation. More research to investigate and confirm these improvements and investigation of next steps toward implementation are required.
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