The planning of vessel calls, vessel port calls in time and space, berth, berth configuration, providing easy visibility and planning/re-planning controls, highlighting planning conflicts like overlapping berths, overlapping departure and arrival, conflicting vessel and berth draft, suitable vessel types and more, and easily identifying available berths for upcoming vessel call, vessel port calls.
Berth planning is often put on a level with berth allocation problem. In practice, all planning deals most of the times with a diversity of resources which are often limited (e.g. the quay length, time, availability of equipment and staff, vessel sizes, tide, berthing draft, weather conditions, service schedules, etc.)
The main objective of berth planning is to find – from the terminal perspective – optimal berth allocations for vessels of the liner services which are intended to be operated by the terminal.
Due to the amount of different parameters which need to be taken into account to find an optimal solution for the terminal the berth allocation problem is already scientifically analyzed several times. Vessels arrive over time and the terminal operator needs to assign them to berths to be served as soon as possible.
Some of the most notable objectives regarding berth planning are:
- Minimization of vessel total service times (waiting and handling times),
- Minimization of early and delayed departures,
- Optimization of vessel arrival times,
- Optimization of emissions and fuel consumption
The operation of a container terminal basically follows the vessel at the quay wall and the schedule of the individual vessel services. The terminal always needs to find a balance between the availability of resources and the maximization of capacity utilization – to increase terminal performance and to enable a profitability of the terminal.
A TOS system can support the decision making process of berth planning by providing relevant information and algorithms to identify the optimal berth place.