An Agent-Based Solution for the Berth Allocation Problem

  • Claudio Cubillos Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • René Díaz Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • Enrique Urra Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • Daniel Cabrera-Paniagua Escuela de Ingeniería Comercial
  • Guillermo Cabrera Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • Gastón Lefranc Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso


This work presents the development of MABAP, a decision support system based on the agent technology that helps in solving the problem of berth allocation for ships within a port. The Berth Allocation Problem (BAP) regards the logistics involved in planning and controlling the berthing of vessels. A software architecture in terms of agents is presented; Berths and Ships representing the actors in the system, BerthRequest and BerthPlanner as representatives of ships and berths in the planning process, and finally the Dock and Central agents representing the dock or pier. The architecture modeling was done using PASSI methodology for the design of agent-oriented systems, and the implementation was done in JADE, a Javabased development environment for multiagent systems. To validate the resulting support system, tests were carried out in which the user can choose different portpolicy scenarios, ranging from maximizing vessels throughput to maximize berths use.


[1] United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), Review Maritime Transport, Cap V, pp. 73-74, Cap VII. 2005.

[2] Wooldridge, M., An Introduction to Multiagent Systems, Dept. of Electronic Engineering, Queen Mary & Westfield College, 2002.

[3] Burrafato, P., Cossentino, M. Designing a Multi-Agent Solution for a Bookstore With the PASSI Methodology, In Fourth International Bi-Conference Workshop on Agent-Oriented Information Systems (AOIS-2002), 2002, pp. 27-28.

[4] FIPA, Contract Net Interaction Protocol Specification. Available at:

[5] Daganzo, C., The Crane Scheduling Problem, Transportation Research B 23B, 1989, 159-175.

[6] Cubillos, C., Crawford, D., Rodríguez, N., MADARP: A Distributed Agent-based System for On-Line DARP. In: I. Stojmenovic et al. (Eds.): ISPA 2007, Springer Heidelberg LNCS, Vol. 4742, 160-169, 2007.

[7] Botti, V.J. Multi-Agent System Technology in a Port Container Terminal Automation, European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics News, Vol. January, No 56, 37-39, 2004.

[8] Nwana, H.S., Ndumu, D.T., An Introduction to Agent Technology, Re-Drawn by Mobile Computing, Dept. of IECS, Feng Chua University, R.O.C., 2003.

[9] Cubillos, C., Urra, E., Rodríguez, N., Application of Genetic Algorithms for the DARPTW Problem, INT J COMPUT COMMUN, ISSN 1841-9836, 4(2):127-136, 2009.

[10] Pinedo, M. Scheduling: Theory, Algorithms and Systems, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1995.

[11] Garey, M. R., Johnson, D. S., Computers and Intractability: A guide to the Theory of NP-Completeness, Freeman, San Francisco. 1979.

[12] Imai, A., Nishimura, F., Papadimitriou, S., The dynamic berth allocation problem for a container port, Transportation Research 35B, 401-417. 2001.

[13] Imai, A., Nagaiwa, K. Chan, W. T., Efficient planning of berth allocation for contenedor terminals in Asia, Journal of Advanced Transportation, 31, 75-94. 1997.

[14] Papadimitriou, C. H., Steiglitz, K., Combinatorial Optimization; Algorithms and Complexity, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliff, NJ. 1982.

[15] Jaw, J. Odoni, A. R. Psaraftis, H. N. Wilson, N.M.H. A heuristic algorithm for the Multi- Vehicle Advance-Request Dial-a-Ride Problem with Time Windows, Transportation Research B, 20B(2): 243 - 257, 1986.

[16] Cabrera-Paniagua, D., Herrera, G., Cubillos, C., Donoso, M. Towards a Model for Dynamic Formation and Operation of Virtual Organizations for Transportation, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, 20 (3): 255-264, 2011.

[17] Cubillos, C., Donoso M., Rodríguez N., Guidi-Polanco F., Cabrera-Paniagua D., Towards Open Agent Systems Through Dynamic Incorporation, INT J COMPUT COMMUN, ISSN 1841-9836, 5(5):675-683, 2010.
How to Cite
CUBILLOS, Claudio et al. An Agent-Based Solution for the Berth Allocation Problem. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTERS COMMUNICATIONS & CONTROL, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 3, p. 384-394, june 2013. ISSN 1841-9844. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 08 july 2020. doi:


Artificial Intelligence, Decision support system, Multiagent architecture, Ports planning