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Port modeling


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Port modeling

  1. 1. ports & terminals Visually modelling a port Captain Hossein.J.KamaliR ecently I attended the ECA ses- mangers, but transferring the idea in smooth and efficient operation of mar- sion hosted by the Chamber of an understandable and interesting way ine terminals and utilize appropriate Shipping of British Columbia. is another matter which I shall try to models in supporting their decisions.During the session, one could recognize accomplish in this short article. As within any operation, representa-that among the many questions, there The modelling approach in decision- tion of the system plays a crucial role inwas one that was outstanding: what making and design aspects of marine management. Representation can vis-will happen to the local marine indus- ports has gained greater attention as ually show how independent compon-try after enforcement of the Emission managers face a problem area that is ents work and interact. It is importantControl Area? very dynamic in nature. Researchers to define the boundaries of the system Further to this, I have also followed have proposed different software pack- and it’s behavior which involves inputs,some of Port Metro Vancouver’s pres- ages and approaches in simulating and processing and outputs.entations during the past year, once modelling port operations for varying Following illustrates a simple stepagain the big question sounds like: purposes. by step modelling of a port in a linear“should the economy change, one way format which is understandable foror another, what will be the outcome As within any operation, representation non-experts.for the local ports?” It should be noted that flow of cargo of the system plays a crucial role in The source of these kinds of ques- is not the only source of income fortions is in fact the human mind’s management. ports, they charge their customers fortendency for constructing a businessmodel and connecting all known exter- Marine ports are the interfaces be-nal and internal sensors, components tween two modes of transport — landand stimulants to see the effect on the and water. Ports are industrial areasoutput, and based upon that output, that are home to the interchanging ofmake a decision for future moves. cargo, information and funds among Visualizing the dynamic models of a different parties such as shippers, car-marine port had been part of my past riers, insurance companies, customs,job and designation as an instructor banks and stevedores.and member of a maritime training in- Ports vary significantly in terms ofstitute, port and logistics faculty group. size, type of operation, location, man- I shall emphasize that all of these agement, type of equipment, layout anddynamic models already exist in many other aspects. Port managers are Figure 1. — Gate valve representation ofthe minds of CEOs and operational aware of different factors affecting the a simple port system.32 BC Shipping News April 2012
  2. 2. ports & terminals equipment, workers/unions, weather, drafts, market, local legislation and others. The flow is not restricted by any single valve but by a series of valves, which holistically determine the throughput. Thus the above simple system can be used as a single building block which can be anywhere from fully closed, slightly open or fully open. Marine Port Subsystems Marine ports are composed of three major subsystems as illustrated in Figure 2: Quay (Berth); Yard; and Gate and rail-head. Quay Quay is where the physical transfer of goods from ship to shore and vice versa takes place. Throughput governing ele- ments include: • Quay equipments such as cranes, con- veyer belt and pipes which transfer goods from ship to shore and vice versaFigure 2. — Three major subsystems of marine ports. • Berth’s length and depth which de- cides the number and size of shipsa number of dues and services. No sys- However, a real port system is far that can be berthed simultaneouslytem is truly linear and no man-made more complex. Cargo movement can be • Security level which is a measure tomodel can suffice for decision-making in both directions (import & export) enhance the security of ship and portbut should be viewed as a tool for an- and there are many other elements facilitiesalysis and consideration. Visual rep- which can restrict the rate of through- • Berth’s traffic and labour staffing atresentation is easier to interpret than put, such as quay cranes, quay transfer any given timestraight text. A simple way of representing a portsystem is to identify a “gate valve”, alsoknown as a “sluice valve”, which operatesby lifting a gate/wedge out of the path ofthe fluid, Figure 1. The fluid is the cargo;the inlet and outlet of the valve are theland and water transportation activ-ities. The reservoir behind the gate valverepresents the storage yard and the gateis an internal element affecting thethroughput of the port. When we com-bine the valve with a reservoir a simplecargo terminal is formed. This type of schematic diagram isstandard for the logistics of many busi-nesses, with raw material as input,inventory being kept in storage andproduct as output. In this simple modelthe gate is playing an important role, itrestricts the flow of cargo and regulates Figure 3. — Subsystems interacting with throughput of the port.the rate of throughput. April 2012 BC Shipping News 33
  3. 3. ports & terminals Yard It should not be assumed that any limitation encourages cargo work at an- Yard is where inventory is kept. It’s gate valve in the above model works in- chor (lighterage).throughput is governed by: dependently. Although complete clos- The diagram evolves to Figure 4. by• Material handling equipment ure of a single valve along the pipeline showing interrelationships between• Current capacity stops the entire throughput, their vari- building blocks as red arrows.• Wharfage ance is not independent but is continu- To avoid excessive visual complexity,• Complexity of the documentation ously under the influence of the other only basic interrelationships have been process components, passively and/or actively. shown.Gate and rail-head For example, a berth’s depth is pas- Gate and rail-head are where the sively under influence of the approach- Challenges facing ports are not only re-goods are cleared in/out by the Cus- ing canal. It would be redundant to dredge a berth more than draft limita- lated to the periodic economic cycles...toms department and connection isestablished with land transportation tion of the approach passage. Elements but also to the changes in the structureby interchanging the goods with land such as labour force, ports equipment,vehicles. type of vessels to service and berth & organization of the industry. The diagram in Figure 2. is similar to traffic volumes and patterns, activelya pipeline where subsystems determine affect each other in a multilateral way. We may conclude that ports are stra-the capacity of the whole; the system The same applies for international tegically located in the supply chain asthroughput rate is determined by the trade, regional trade, national legisla- an interface in the flow of goods andleast open gate valve. tion, ocean carriers and rival ports. act as a platform for the exchange of There are more closely interrelated Limitation of a port’s storage cap- information. As a key link within thesystems and players within the logistics acity encourages the use of off-dock supply chain, ports have to co-operatechain of the marine industry that affect terminals, which in turn is affected by with shipping agents, forwarders, off-the throughput of the port, including the multimodal transport and custom dock terminals, ocean carriers, portmultimodal transportation, rival ports, regulations. authorities, shippers, rail/road/feed-off-dock terminals, lighterage at an- National legislation such as the er operators, truckers, governmentschor and ocean carriers as shown in Emission Control Area which urges the and administrative services such asFigure 3. use of more expensive fuel by ocean car- Customs. The main core of the port itself is at- riers can affect the pattern of their port Challenges facing ports are not onlytached to land transportation from one rotation in favour of or against rival related to the periodic economic cyclesside and approaching sea passage on ports. Poor quay equipment would re- and fluctuations but also to the chan-the other side. quire ships with mounted cranes. Depth ges in the structure and organization of the industry. Ports must be adapt- able to these changes and become more involved in the integration of supply chains by changing their traditional fragmented approach into an integrat- ed system within which new roles and relationships with other players are defined. A holistic dynamic model can help tackle the numerous issues ports face and can save considerable time and money in design and decisions which otherwise may lead to sunk costs. Captain Hossein J. Kamali is an accomplished Master Mariner with exten- sive international training and work ex- perience in ocean-going vessels, shipping, logistics, port operations and container management. He has authored several books on these subjects. Captain KamaliFigure 4. — The interrelationships show the evolution of the supply chain. can be reached at BC Shipping News April 2012