News section

TBA developed algorithm to optimize reefer mechanics walking path

March 2014
Press release

Netherlands based TBA developed an algorithm that may ease the work of reefer mechanics.

Reefers are refrigerated containers that need power for maintaining temperature. Reefer mechanics have to do different types of jobs (connect, disconnect and monitor) related to reefers. Reefers are located at specified locations on the terminal and reefer mechanics have to travel long distances between these locations. Currently, there is no algorithm to determine the sequence of the jobs the mechanics have to execute and mechanics have to determine the order manually. This may lead to inefficient and time consuming schedules.

In the current situation reefer mechanics are working for almost the fully 100% of the time. The way of jobs are scheduled today leads to high average travel times per job. The average travel time per job, dependent on the number of mechanics, is up to 3 times more than the optimal approach of the algorithm, while maintaining the time a container may stay unplugged within the defined boundaries. Based on the simulation model that was defined, we can conclude that with proper reefer job scheduling, the reefer mechanic’s productivity can go up by 100%.

This would mean that the same amount of work can be done with less than half the man power, or that the reefer mechanics have an easier job.


The scheduling tool has been fitted into an intelligent app, that can be plugged into the NAVIS TOS suite. If you’re interested in this app please contact