Herramientas estadísticas y de optimización para la gestión eficiente de terminales portuarias. Aplicación al puerto de Cartagena

Supervised by:
  1. Pilar Jiménez Gómez Director

Defence university: Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

Fecha de defensa: 29 September 2023

  1. Alberto Camarero Orive Chair
  2. José María Ramos Parreño Secretary
  3. Jorge Molines Llodrá Committee member

Type: Thesis


International trade is highly dependent on ports. The planning and construction of new ports or new port terminals is costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize the planning process, evaluating it from an economic and financial point of view, and it is imperative to optimize the existing infrastructure to ensure sustainable logistics. The initial idea arose from the search for a methodology that could optimize the port planning process, focusing on the construction of infrastructure through the development and application of new techniques and tools. To achieve this objective, tools such as sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo models were used to evaluate the variables that most influenced economic and financial results, and that presented a higher level of risk. Incorporating risk analysis in the early stages of a project can lead to better decision making and results. This methodology takes into account the probabilistic distributions of the selected input and output variables, providing more information than a deterministic model could provide. The proposed methodology is demonstrated by applying it to an investment project in a port terminal of the Port Authority of Cartagena (Spain). Some enlightening conclusions were obtained. Certain variables, such as the average throughput of the port terminal, were found to require further study to determine the main factors influencing its performance. At this point, the main variables and factors that clearly determine the value of average port terminal throughput were identified. On the other hand, it was also concluded that the performance of the use of port infrastructures is fundamental to optimize the planning process. With these conclusions, we focused on the next step, the optimization of the performance of multi-client port terminals, where several terminal operators share the quayside infrastructure. In these cases, multi-client terminals, achieving optimization is more complex, as competing interests may arise. The problem of berth allocation in liquid bulk terminals is even more demanding due to their limited flexibility. In the process of optimizing this particular case, we developed HADES, a multi-agent platform, as part of this thesis, and its successful pilot use in the Port of Cartagena seems to yield encouraging results. The platform facilitates the exchange of limited information between agents involved in ship arrivals to reduce congestion in multi-client liquid bulk terminals. The effectiveness of an optimization model based on a mixed-integer linear program (MILP) to reduce congestion anchoring as a function of vessel arrival time flexibility has been demonstrated. Results show that even a 6-hour window of flexibility can reduce congestion anchorage by half, and a 24-hour window can eliminate it. Therefore, research into optimizing the use of existing port infrastructure continues to be a line of work that continues to provide solutions to a dynamic problem.