Relieving congestion at intermodal marine container terminals: Review of tactical/operational strategies


Until 2009, intermodal marine container terminals had experienced constant growth in container volumes since widespread containerized trade began. Even with the downturn in freight volumes due to recent economic conditions, forecasts are that freight volumes will rebound and will increase dramatically by 2020, resulting in substantial increases in congestion. The port industry is under pressure to develop strategies and capacity to accommodate these increasing freight volumes. Efficient gate operations are crucial to intermodal freight terminals since their impact is not isolated to the efficiency of the operations within the terminal but also extends to the road traffic on nearby freeways and access ramps. Inefficient gate operations can spill over to the surrounding roadway network causing serious safety and congestion problems, and degrading the reliability and performance of carriers, shippers, and terminal operators. Since intermodal freight terminals tend to be located in or near major cities, where right of way is limited and very expensive, implementing operational strategies to reduce the effect of the terminals truck related traffic to the surrounding roadway network becomes more important and more viable than physical capacity expansions. There is an ongoing discussion concerning the implementation of different gate operation strategies that may relieve these effects. Among the gate operation strategies being considered to relieve the impacts of congestion and delay are gate appointment systems, extended hours of operations for terminal gates, and advanced technologies for gates and terminals. The purpose of this paper is to critically review the published literature on the different gate strategies. This paper also presents existing attempts at reducing truck queues at terminal gates and improving terminal operations and traffic conditions in the vicinity of the terminals and the technologies available that support the implementation of this type of strategies. © (2010) by the Transportation Research Forum All rights reserved.

Publication Title

51st Annual Transportation Research Forum 2010

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