Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Seaside operations planning in container terminals

Short Description

Container terminals must serve calling vessel within short port stay times. Also, they have to utilize their resources efficiently to provide services at reasonable cost. This project considers three operational planning problems that can contribute to high service quality and low operational cost. The first problem is to allocate vessels to quay space (Berth Allocation Problem). The second problem is to assign quay cranes to berthed vessels (Crane Assignment Problem). The third problem is to schedule loading and unloading operations for the cranes (Crane Scheduling Problem). Up to now practitioners and researchers treat these problems one by the other in a sequential manner. Only little research has been done on the interdependencies and the resulting need for more appropriate solution methods. An integrated solution approach has to consider the berth allocation as well as the simultaneous assignment and scheduling of the scarce quay crane resource. This allows to aim at the service degree objective as well as at the resource cost objective. Since each of the single problems is mathematically hard to solve, we concentrate on developing efficient heuristic solution approaches for the integrated berth allocation and crane operations planning.

Conference activities

We have organized the EURO Summer Institute on Maritime Logistics 2012

We have organized and/or chaired streams and sessions on maritime logistics for the following conferences:


Selected Publications

  • Bierwirth, C.; Meisel, F.: A follow-up survey of berth allocation and quay crane scheduling problems in container terminals, European Journal of Operational Research, 244 (2015), 675-689, Link     .
  • Bierwirth, C.; Meisel, F. (Eds.): Special issue "Maritime Logistics". European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 235(2), 2014, Link   
  • Meisel, F.; Bierwirth, C.: A Framework for Integrated Berth Allocation and Crane Operations Planning in Seaport Container Terminals, Transportation Science 47 (2013), 131-147, Link   
  • Legato, P.; Trunfio, R.; Meisel, F.: Modeling and Solving Rich Quay Crane Scheduling Problems, Computers & Operations Research 39 (2012), 2063-2078, Link   
  • Meisel, F.: The Quay Crane Scheduling Problem with Time Windows, Naval Research Logistics 58 (2011), 619-636, Link   
  • Bierwirth, C.; Meisel, F.: A Survey of Berth Allocation and Quay Crane Scheduling Problems in Container Terminals, European Journal of Operational Research 202 (2010), 615-627, Link   
  • Meisel, F.; Wichmann, M.: Container Sequencing for Quay Cranes with Internal Reshuffles, OR Spectrum 32 (2010), 569-591, Link   
  • Bierwirth, C.; Meisel, F.: A fast Heuristic for Quay Crane Scheduling with Interference Constraints, Journal of Scheduling 12 (2009), 345-360, Link   
  • Meisel, F.; Bierwirth, C.: Heuristics for the Integration of Crane Productivity in the Berth Allocation Problem. Transportation Research Part E 45 (2009), 196-209, Link   

Online resources

Business Contacts

An assistance at the Northsea Terminal Bremerhaven GmbH gave insight into  practitioners` work and knowledge.


Prof. Dr. Christian Bierwirth ()

Prof. Dr. Frank Meisel ()