Analyze Performance Under Various Capital Improvement Options
With volumes of both inbound and outbound containers soon to surpass a facility’s capacity, the terminal design group of Canadian Pacific Railway required an Intermodal Facility Simulation to help determine an economical solution.
One option would be for CP to completely relocate and rebuild one of the Intermodal operations at a cost of approximately $42 million. The second option, a temporary solution at a cost of about $2 million, would be to expand the current facility in an effort to extend the life of the yard by several more years.
The challenge in this project was to model the operation to the correct level of detail – enough detail to accurately reflect the terminals’ operation while at the same time being simple enough to comprehend and to guarantee accurate supporting data.
Visual8 responded by developing a facility wide simulation to analyze the performance of the Intermodal facility under various capital improvement options.
The resultant simulation model provides detailed analysis of all aspects of the Intermodal facility. Model input parameters include:
- Characteristics of inbound trains including arrival times and slot utilization,
- Characteristics of outbound trains including, departure times and priority,
- Daily profile of trucks arriving into the terminal,
- Terminal layout including zones characteristics and travel distances,
- Defined Toplifters,
- In-gate processing desk including processing times and staff availability, and
- Rail car types including their respective capacities and characteristics.
Meanwhile, arriving trains from other parts of Canada and the United States are off loaded and the empty train cars are reloaded and built into outbound trains.
The resulting simulation model, while being quite complex, allows the user to change all data parameters via a series of Excel spreadsheets. The simulator can then be re-run and the significant results of the simulation are again fed back to Excel in the form of tabular reports and graphs.
The Intermodal Facility Simulation allows users to predict system performance based on changes to:
- Workload demands such as traffic volumes and mix,
- Operating methods and procedures such as container flows and processing requirements,
- Resource levels such as gate staffing, equipment availability and storage.
“The simulator has provided us with the means to show the effect that various capital improvement options have on terminal capacity and performance.” – Matt Janta, Terminal Design Supervisor