The berth allocation problem is to allocate space along the quayside to incoming ship at a container terminal in order to minimize some objective function. We consider minimization of total costs for waiting and handling as well as earliness or tardiness of completion, for all ships. We assume ships can arrive at any given time, i.e., before or after the berths become available. The resulting problem, which subsumes several previous ones, is expressed as a linear mixed 0-1 program. As it turns out to be too time-consuming for exact solution of instances of realistic size, a Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS) heuristic is proposed, and compared with Multi-Start (MS), a Genetic Search algorithm (GA) and a Memetic Search algorithm(MA). VNS provides optimal solutions for all instances solved to optimality in a previous paper of the first two authors and outperforms MS, MA and GA on large instances.
Published December 2003 , 24 pages