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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 201749, 13 pages
Research Article

A Heuristic Procedure for the Outbound Container Relocation Problem during Export Loading Operations

1Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Avenida Eugenio Garza Sada 2501, 64849 Monterrey, NL, Mexico
2Escuela de Ingeniería Industrial, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Avenida Brasil 2950, Casilla 4059, 2374631 Valparaíso, Chile

Received 3 December 2014; Revised 22 February 2015; Accepted 22 February 2015

Academic Editor: Seungik Baek

Copyright © 2015 Roberto Guerra-Olivares et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During export ship loading operations, it is often necessary to perform relocation movements with containers that interfere with access to the desired container in the ship loading sequence. This paper presents a real-time heuristic procedure for the container relocation problem employing reachstacker vehicles as container handling equipment. The proposed heuristic searches for good relocation coordinates within a set of nearby bays. The heuristic has a parameter that determines how far from the original bay a container may be relocated. The tradeoff between reducing relocation movements and limiting vehicle travel distances is examined and the performance of the heuristic is compared with a common practice in the smaller container terminals in Chile and Mexico. Finally, a mathematical model for the container relocation problem is presented.