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Determining crane areas in intermodal transshipment yards: The yard partition problem

By Nils Boysen and Malte Fliedner


At rail-road transshipment yards, gantry cranes move containers from freight trains to trucks and vice versa. They constitute important entities in today's intermodal transportation systems. Real-world yards are often partitioned into several disjunct crane areas, so that crane interferences during container transshipment are avoided. In practice, the lengths of such crane areas are typically determined by simple rules of thumb, i.e., each crane receives an equally sized area, which might result in an unleveled division of labor among cranes and, thus, prolong train processing times. This paper provides an exact solution procedure which determines disjunct yard areas of varying size for multiple gantry cranes in polynomial runtime, so that the workload for a given pulse of trains is equally distributed among cranes. Furthermore, we investigate the potential acceleration of train processing as compared to equally sized areas in a yard simulation.Intermodal transport Transshipment yard Container handling Crane scheduling

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