Inbound container storage pricing schemes
In ocean transportation, contractual and operational relationships may be asynchronous. A case in point is the relationship between a customer requiring inbound container storage and a container terminal operator. The customer may store inbound containers in a container terminal and will pay the ocean carrier a specific storage fee, without establishing any contractual relationship with the terminal operator. After collecting the storage fee, the ocean carrier will then pay the container terminal operator for the storage of the inbound container. In this article, we study two-level inbound container storage pricing problems involving a container terminal operator and an ocean carrier in two different inbound container storage contract systems: the free-time contract system and the free-space contract system. In each contract system, we propose a two-stage pricing game model. We derive the optimal decisions for the container terminal operator and the ocean carrier. Analysis about the coordination of the two kinds of contract system is also provided. Numerical studies are conducted to compare the outcomes of the two systems for the ocean carrier and the container terminal. The results of computational experiments reveal that the free-space contract system is a preferable strategy for busy container terminals in terms of traffic control.