An optimization model for the container pre-marshalling problem

Yusin Lee, Nai Yun Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Citations (Scopus)


In most container yards around the world, containers are stacked high to utilize yard space more efficiently. In these yards, one major factor that affects their operational efficiency is the need to re-shuffle containers when accessing a container that is buried beneath other containers. One way to achieve higher loading efficiency is to pre-marshal the containers in such a way that it fits the loading sequence. In this research, we present a mathematical model for the container pre-marshalling problem. With respect to a given yard layout and a given sequence that containers are loaded onto a ship, the model yields a plan to re-position the export containers within the yard, so that no extra re-handles will be needed during the loading operation. The optimization goal is to minimize the number of container movements during pre-marshalling. The resulting model is an integer programming model composed of a multi-commodity flow problem and a set of side constraints. Several possible variations of the model as well as a solution heuristic are also discussed. Computation results are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3295-3313
Number of pages19
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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