PurposeThe volumes of international containerized trade substantially increased over the past years. In the meantime, marine container terminal (MCT) operators are facing congestion issues at their terminals because of the increasing number of large-size vessels, the lack of innovative technologies and advanced handling equipment and the inability of proper scheduling of the available resources. This study aims to propose a novel memetic algorithm with a deterministic parameter control to facilitate the berth scheduling at MCTs and minimize the total vessel service cost.Design/methodology/approachA local search heuristic, which is based on the first-come-first-served policy, is applied at the chromosomes and population initialization stage within the developed memetic algorithm (MA). The deterministic parameter control strategy is implemented for a custom mutation operator, which alters the mutation rate values based on the piecewise function throughout the evolution of the algorithm. Performance of the proposed MA is compared with that of the alternative solution algorithms widely used in the berth scheduling literature, including a MA that does not apply the deterministic parameter control strategy, typical evolutionary algorithm, simulated annealing and variable neighborhood search.FindingsResults demonstrate that the developed MA with a deterministic parameter control can obtain superior berth schedules in terms of the total vessel service cost within a reasonable computational time. Furthermore, greater cost savings are observed for the cases with high demand and low berthing capacity at the terminal. A comprehensive analysis of the convergence patterns indicates that introduction of the custom mutation operator with a deterministic control for the mutation rate value would provide more efficient exploration and exploitation of the search space.Research limitations/implicationsThis study does not account for uncertainty in vessel arrivals. Furthermore, potential changes in the vessel handling times owing to terminal disruptions are not captured.Practical implicationsThe developed solution algorithm can serve as an efficient planning tool for MCT operators and assist with efficient berth scheduling for both discrete and continuous berthing layout cases.Originality/valueThe majority of studies on berth scheduling rely on the stochastic search algorithms without considering the specific problem properties and applying the guided search heuristics. Unlike canonical evolutionary algorithms, the developed algorithm uses a local search heuristic for the chromosomes and population initialization and adjusts the mutation rate values based on a deterministic parameter control strategy for more efficient exploration and exploitation of the search space.
Maritime Business Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 15, 2017
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