Network Capacity Estimation of Vessel Traffic: An Approach for Port Planning

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Port capacity is an essential parameter for the assessment of port performance. In the literature, there is no unanimous capacity definition, which depends on each research goal. Vessel traffic in ports and the corresponding port performance indicators have been analyzed with different simulation models, but they generally do not include a method for determining a port’s capacity. Guidelines or other studies using empirical data also have not addressed this important topic. The method developed in this paper estimates the port network traffic capacity (PNTC) by using vessel traffic data. The analysis and comparison of several indicators are used to identify meaningful relationships for estimating port capacity with generic applicability to any port design. The relation between the total number of trips in the port and the ratio of waiting time to service time seems to be the most suitable for identifying when the port reaches unstable flow situations, that is, when it reaches capacity. The method has been applied successfully in six scenarios with various berths, layouts, service times, vessel fleet types, and maneuvering times. Application of the method is useful during the port-planning phase, because with a few simulations, an indicative PNTC value for each design can be inferred, and thus, different scenarios can be compared.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04017019
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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