The Port of Bahía Blanca has for many years been an important center of transportation of agricultural products in Argentina. The increasing traffic to the port has resulted in an escalating need for higher efficiency, since the current facilities have problems with fatal accidents, long turnaround times and overall congestion.
This project is focused on inbound truck traffic for four of the terminals in the port handling grain and cereals. All the trucks are compulsorily required to go through a facility called the Triangle where trucks are checked in and queued until they are allowed to proceed to the unloading facilities at the terminal. The Triangle is the case study for this project and the objective has been to analyze the turnaround time and how it could be reduced. The second part of this project examines the Triangle as an actor of its supply chain and how it is possible to develop the Triangle with respect to its supply chain.
A simulation model of the Triangle was constructed and several scenarios were analyzed. It was then possible to determine the principal reason for congestion and long turnaround times; the reason being poor synchronization between the arrival of the trucks and the capacity at the terminals. The arrival pattern was changed in the model and this made it possible to reduce the turnaround time significantly. By creating six appointment intervals per day it was possible to reduce turnaround times by around 50 per cent for three of four terminals. Other affecting factors such as check-in, quality control and batch sizes were also analyzed; however, these factors showed much less influence on the total turnaround time.
The structure of the supply chain was investigated, as well as the power bases of the different actors. The current structure is somewhat complex and does not encourage the changes necessary to constitute an efficient supply chain.
This project has resulted in recommendations at both operative and strategic levels. The operative recommendations are to use the current appointment system but in a stricter manner. Each day should be divided into at least six time -slots in which trucks are expected to arrive. A differential price strategy for arriving trucks should be used in order to encourage punctuality. Penalty fees should be implemented when the terminals do not follow the stated schedule.
In order to implement the changes and ensure the quality of the services it is necessary to instate a channel captain for this supply chain. The Consortium, the manager of the port, should take a more active role to become the channel captain to support overall optimization of the supply chain, rather than of local segments.