Strategic capacity planning is a core activity for the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator as demand for coal is expected to double in the next decade. Optimization and simulation models are used to suggest and evaluate infrastructure expansions and operating policy changes. These models require input data in the form of shipping stems, which are arrival streams of ships at the port, together with their cargo types and composition. Creating shipping stems that accurately represent future demand scenarios has been a time-consuming and daunting challenge. We describe a multi-phase optimization-based framework that facilitates and enhances this process, and which has become an integral part of the work flow. The framework embeds sampling to allow for the generation of multiple shipping stems for a single demand scenario, employs targets, and desirable and permissable ranges to specify and control the characteristics of the shipping stems, and uses integer programming in a hierarchical fashion to generate a shipping stem that best meets the set goals.
Report C-OPT 2013-02 University of Newcastle University Drive Callaghan, NSW 2308 Australia