“There is no other simulation software out there that allows you to predict intermodal yard capacity this simply and on a PC,” said Udo Mehlberg, the Port of Tacoma’s IT project manager and business analyst. “There’s no programming involved, and that’s very important.”
Most intermodal yard modelling software products require up to three to six months of data input to develop a reliable model, say the partners, who claim that their software can achieve this in two to four weeks. The software has already been used successfully to determine the capacity of intermodal yards at Washington United Terminals and at Tacoma’s Pierce County Terminal, where it was employed to plan a doubling of capacity of the on-dock yard.
In addition to determining maximum throughput, the software can also predict the effect of enhancements such as new equipment or physical modifications to a yard. It is also unique in its ability to determine train length, according to Tacoma and ISL. “There are many variables that we can manipulate – for example, seasonality. We can see how variations in the peaking cycle change the output,” said Brian Mannelly, the Port’s manager of terminal planning and CADD services.