Development of timed Colour Petri net simulation models for air cargo terminal operations

Chulung Lee, Huei Chuen Huang, Bin Liu, Zhiyong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the development and the application of simulation models for air cargo terminal operations. As air cargo volume is fast increasing in recent years, air cargo terminals which handle cargos for carriers face challenges to streamline their operations. Air cargo terminals employ diverse storage media and are also equipped with various material handling equipments. Due to the complex and stochastic nature of terminal operations, which makes formulation of analytical model difficult, in this study, simulation models are developed to analyze the air cargo terminal operations. We first employ timed CPN (Colour Petri nets) to model the terminal operations, and then the corresponding simulation model will be developed. In order to validate this simulation model, we run the model based on actual cargo retrieval schedules obtained from an air cargo terminal. The results show that this model provides a good estimate of the terminal performance. The model is then employed to analyze the performance of the airline assignment policy for the objective of minimizing the cargo processing times, and the results show that the proposed policy significantly improves the operational performance of air cargo terminals. Second, the simulation model is employed to analyze the performance of an AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System), and the performance of the proposed storage policy is compared with that of the current policy. The simulation experiment also validates the optimal parameter value from the analytic model. The developed models simulate air cargo terminal operations effectively and efficiently, and will aid future studies in the design and control of terminal operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalComputers and Industrial Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by a Korea University Grant


  • AS/RS storage policy
  • Air cargo terminal
  • Airline assignment
  • Colour Petri nets
  • Discrete event simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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