- German-South Korean joint project PTOP ran for three years
- Goal: Optimization of terminal operations via rule-based strategies and algorithms
- Project areas container storage and control of stacking cranes
- Companies and universities from both countries were involved
Pusan (South Korea), Bremen (Germany), Bremerhaven (Germany), June 8th 2021. The three-year international collaborative project PTOP (Policy-based Terminal Operations Planning) has now been successfully completed. The aim of the research project, the project, which was funded by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), was to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of operations in container terminals by developing a planning system based on rules or strategies and simulation. This system is to support human planning in order to optimize the storage of containers in the container yard on the one hand and the control of stacking cranes in the container yard on the other hand.
Science and industry in Germany and South Korea have worked closely together on PTOP. Project partners were Total Soft Bank (South Korea), Pusan National University (South Korea), the University of Bremen (Germany) and akquinet port consulting GmbH (formerly ISL Applications GmbH, Germany). The project was funded by the South Korean Ministry of Research and the German BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), there under the grant number 01DR17022C.
In the study, the universities each designed the rule-based strategies and developed algorithms. These were integrated into the operational and planning processes at the terminal. For this purpose, interfaces were created into Total Soft Bank's Terminal Operating System (TOS) called CATOS and AKQUINET's CHESSCON simulation and emulation system. By integrating into these software systems, the usability under real conditions was tested. The goal was to improve planning across multiple work shifts.
In this context, Pusan National University (PNU) focused on the storage areas. Bonggwon Kang, Pusan National University (PNU), says: "The PNU investigated the yard storage and yard crane operations policies and developed simulation-based optimization models considering the characteristics of a container terminal. Our validation experiments revealed that the policy optimization greatly improves the container terminal performance."
The stacking crane control subproject investigated whether and how cranes can be moved without blocking paths, for example. The University of Bremen developed an algorithm to incorporate predictions into current planning. Commenting on this, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Dietrich Haasis, University of Bremen: "As a result of the project delivered by the University of Bremen new policies for deployment of rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) to blocks in a container yard were developed and evaluated by using a discrete-event simulation. The policy-based deployment approach is based on a rollout algorithm and estimated workloads for a fixed number of planning periods within a rolling horizon. The deployment algorithm has given date interfaces and can be connected to the commercial terminal simulation software CHESSCON. By this, RTGs may be assigned best to specific blocks for the duration of the next period."
Hoon Lee, Chief of Logistics System Institute, Total Soft Bank, Ltd, sais: "As a PTOP project, we were able to do new research and development for convergence solutions, and we have an opportunity to new business from those results."
Prof. Dr. Holger Schütt, Managing Director of akquinet port consulting GmbH, summarizes the results of the PTOP project: "We were able to test suitable algorithms for each of the two sub-areas under real conditions. For this purpose, we have created interfaces in the respective software solutions, which we will continue to use in the future. The results of the study show that this is the right way to achieve further optimizations at the terminal. We will continue to research here and also devote ourselves to parking space planning for multimodal terminals. In this way, we are moving closer and closer to the idea of the digital twin, i.e. the connection between the real terminal system and its digital model, where both are always updating each other." In 2020, akquinet port consulting GmbH was honored by the German Donors' Association (Deutscher Stifterverband) with the "Innovative through Research" seal of approval for its research on simulation-based planning of operational processes at port terminals.
The final report including an abstract on PTOP can soon be viewed online at the Technical Information Library Hanover: https://www.tib.eu/de/
More about port and terminal logistics at AKQUINET: https://akquinet.com/en/portconsulting.html
akquinet AG is an internationally active, continuously growing IT consulting company headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. It currently employs 920 specialists with extensive knowledge of future-oriented technologies. The company specializes in the implementation of ERP systems (SAP and Microsoft) and the individual development of software solutions. In four high-performance data centers in Hamburg, Norderstedt and Itzehoe, AKQUINET operates IT systems in outsourcing for companies of all sizes.
akquinet port consulting GmbH, based in Bremerhaven, is the port logistics specialist within akquinet AG. With worldwide experience in consulting and software development for the simulation and emulation of logistic processes in ports and in the transport industry, it has been accompanying corresponding projects for years. From feasibility studies to project management and implementation in the operational area, akquinet port consulting develops customized solutions for seaport and transport logistics. Here, it also provides its clients with the scientifically based CHESSCON software family for the development and optimization of their processes and terminals.