Essays on Port, Container, and Bulk Chemical Logistics Optimization

Doctoral Thesis by Eelco van Asperen


The essays in this thesis are concerned with two main themes in port logistics. The first theme is the coordination of transport arrivals with the distribution processes and the use of storage facilities. We study this for both containerized and bulk chemical transport. The second theme is the uncertainty associated with the arrival time of ships with bulk chemicals and the impact on port logistics. Each essay describes a case study where quantitative methods, especially simulation, are used. The operation of container terminals and in particular the way in which containers are stacked in a yard is influenced by information about the departure of a container. We find that even inaccurate information is valuable and helps to reduce unproductive moves. Next, we present the "floating stocks'' distribution concept which uses intermodal transport to deploy inventories in a supply chain in advance of retailer demand. We demonstrate that a main drawback of intermodal transport, a longer transit time, can be mitigated using this concept. This concept also influences the choice of a port: we provide a quantitative interpretation of routing flexibility in port selection.

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