Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Port Gate Automation. ¿Why?

Image: Automated Gate. Image credit: <dis-me.com/gate-automation.html>

By Gustavo Cercos*, Guayaquil (Ecuador) for gruasytransportes.

When there is a queue of trucks at the gates of the Port Terminal, the Operations personnel usually say that they must add more operational gates (points of service).
When asked about the amount of gates to be added, they often say about of 3 or 4 more gates.
Then we can see that with the added gates we did not get the expected results  and the question is, why?
Well I will try to answer with this simple spreadsheet.
In the following Table 1 we can see a typical day where the terminal has 10 gates, the  time per container is 6 minutes and we see that in a certain time we lack gates (missing gates).
Table 1.
Containers that are not served during that time go on to form the queue of trucks waiting to be served.
If in that Table 1 we change the number of operational gates from 10 to 13, we see that the situation does not change much.
As we can see in the following Table 2.
Table 2.
Now what happens if we lower the attention time to 4 minutes.
We see the result of our actions in Table 3.
Table 3.
The queue of trucks is now smaller than the one we would have with 13 operational gates.
Then we can conclude that reducing attention time is the most important variable.
If we achieve an attention time of only 2 minutes, the table would be as shown in Table 4.
Table 4.
As we see the amount of gates needed are reduced markedly and the missing gates appear in negative numbers indicating that there are idle gates.
From this analysis we can conclude that:
1- The most important thing is to minimize the attention time, for example to 2 minutes, but this is achieved with automatic gates, that means investing in technology.
2- If we can not invest, a maximum time of attention must be fixed as a benchmark to the operator of each gate.
If this time of attention is not met for some reason, the truck must be taken out of the queue.
3- Programming of trucks also known as trucks appointment, is the best known way to try to reduce the peaks by scheduling their entry into other non-critical times but this is not very feasible to do because although the terminal can work 24 hours sometimes there are external factors such as customs or the same customer that make that this can not be done.
Thanks for reading.
gruasytransportes < gruasytransportes.wordpress.com>
(*): Gustavo Cercos is a former Senior Engineering and Maintenance Director of Port Terminals. He lives in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
For more information please contact to Mr Gustavo Cercos at: gustavo.cercos@gmail.com

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