Global Case Study

Opcenter (Preactor) APS

Port of Tauranga

ShuttleSelect system at Port of Tauranga powered by Opcenter APS, formerly Preactor

A commitment to customer service and innovative shipping solutions has established the Port of Tauranga as the preferred cargo gateway for New Zealand and the economic hub of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions. The key to the success of this, New Zealand’s fastest growing port, is a focus on maintaining its core business at Tauranga, while also expanding into new ventures that are reshaping the traditions of service delivery in New Zealand’s port sector.

A key part of maintaining its competitive position, particularly with the Port of Auckland itself was to provide an efficient way to deliver the containers from Tauranga to MetroPort in Auckland after they were unloaded.

Stephen Dorrington of The Kinetic Management Company, who managed the implementation of Preactor in this application, described the difficulties. 

“Each train shuttle from Tauranga to MetroPort had a number of constraints.  These included the number of container wagons, the size, type and maximum load of each wagon, and the fact that some containers were not allowed to be adjacent to each other.  In addition, the company did not necessarily know well in advance what containers were on a ship.  Those coming from far away had detailed data available while those coming from say Sydney had a very short time frame between leaving and arriving at Tauranga.”

What the company needed was a system that could automatically allocate containers to wagons and their location within a train, taking into account the train capacity, loading rules, and service level objectives. In addition, the system would need to fully integrate with the other software systems that dealt with vessel arrival schedules, container details (Nevis), and the proposed train schedules and consists.  They also wanted to provide a web portal for customers to change their delivery requirements and select the train where possible.

Jai Beathe, Consultant with Simulation Modelling Services, described some of the challenges for the customization of Preactor. “We knew we could customize Preactor to handle the sequencing and constraints of the system, it was just a matter of how we represented the resources on the Preactor Gantt Chart so that the user could see the containers within a single train load.”

Preactor Gantt ChartIt was decided to list the resources in the Sequencer Overview as empty wagons for each train. Each container was represented as a bar, color coded for easy identification and a train load as a set of bars arranged vertically with the last wagon at the top.  The train schedule is read in together with container arrival times and customer expected delivery dates.

48 hours before the vessel ETA, the customized Preactor scheduling rule assigns the containers to each wagon in each train and generates a train plan which is published to a web site.  The system is called ShuttleSelect and allows customers to see exactly when their cargo is due into MetroPort Auckland. In addition, they can modify delivery time to a cut off point of 6 hours prior to vessel arrival. Jai Beathe continues, “After the 6 hour cut off time Preactor imports any customer edited data and generates a new and final train plan. The customer can also choose the option of interactive tracking capabilities in order to be alerted of any changes.”

For the customer the advantages of ShuttleSelect are:

  • It allows them to select a time for container deliveries from Tauranga to Auckland
  • By knowing container delivery times in advance, ShuttleSelect allows them to better plan their own de-vanning and distribution processes
  • Customers can prioritie urgent deliveries and stagger the rest as required, taking advantage of longer free delivery time
  • Changes are possible as needed within the ‘change window’ of 6-48 hours prior to vessel arrival
  • They can, by managing their own containers on-line, eliminate extra steps in the process and therefore save time and money

And the benefits for the Port of Tauranga? Stephen Dorrington reported the benefits so far.  “The Port was starting to turn away business because of apparent lack of capacity and customers were also becoming critical of service levels.  The ShuttleSelect system, powered by Preactor, has enabled them to win new business because now customers have surety of container arrival and the automated system, working with other software, has made the Port more productive and more efficient.”

Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Planning
• What to make • When to make it • How much to make • Where to make it • Required materials & resources
Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Scheduling
• How best to make it • Sequencing • Synchronization • Priorities, constraints, & conflicts • Monitor execution & change
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