New Approach for Evaluating Berth Allocation Procedures Using Discrete Event Simulation to Reduce Total Port Handling Costs

Nurhadi Siswanto*, Melati Kusumawati, Ahmed Raecky Baihaqy, Stefanus Eko Wiratno, Ruhul Sarker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The berth allocation problem (BAP) is a significant problem in operational or tactical planning in maritime logistics. The BAP total cost of port handling consists of demurrage/despatch and operational costs from loading and unloading facilities. The BAP becomes more complex because of the uncertainties of ship arrival, unloading time, and the interdependence between loading and unloading processes, which may cause an unpredictable completion time. This study aims to evaluate berth allocation procedures to reduce the total port handling costs. The discrete event simulation (DES) approach is used to determine the best BAP procedure and to obtain the optimal number of facilities in the BAP. Twenty scenarios are generated by combining various dock and ship selection rules. In operational planning, the chosen scenario can save the company 0.125 financial units annually regarding total port handling cost. Meanwhile, optimization tools are employed in tactical planning to reveal the ideal number of unloading facilities used. The best scenario of tactical planning can reduce total handling cost by 15% or 3.209 financial units by adding more resources in unloading facilities, such as cranes and trucks, and implementing certain mechanisms in selecting ships and docks. Lastly, sensitivity analysis is performed to test the robustness of the simulation model by modifying several influential parameters, such as (i) material type, (ii) ship arrival rate, (iii) operational cost rate, (iv) demurrage rate, and (v) target unloading rate. This type of analysis also aims to find under what condition the selected scenario will be changed from what was initially chosen. The selected scenario on tactical planning is chosen as a basis, and it is revealed that the selected scenario remains consistent although the ship arrival and operational cost rate is increased. However, the selected best scenario will change when the material type changes and the demurrage rate or target unloading rate increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-553
Number of pages19
JournalOperations and Supply Chain Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • berth allocation problem
  • demurrage cost
  • demurrage time
  • discrete event simulation
  • operational cost
  • total port handling cost


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