Introduction:rail simulation model
Rail and intermodal terminals play a crucial role in the efficient movement of goods, connecting different modes of transportation and facilitating seamless logistics operations. Effective planning and optimization of these terminals are essential for maximizing throughput, minimizing delays, and improving overall operational efficiency. While traditional tools like Excel have long been used for planning, they often fall short in capturing the complexity and dynamics of terminal operations. Fortunately, simulation modeling offers a more powerful and comprehensive solution, enabling users to gain valuable insights into system behavior, apply variation, and model network dynamics over time. In this article, we will explore the benefits of simulation modeling over Excel for terminal planning and delve into its various applications.

Understanding Simulation Modeling:

Simulation modeling is a technique that uses computer-based models to replicate the behavior of real-world systems. It involves creating a virtual environment that simulates the interactions between different components of the system, capturing their behaviors and relationships. By running simulations, analysts can observe how the system behaves under various scenarios and gain insights into its performance.

Benefits of Simulation Modeling for Rail and Intermodal Terminals:

Simulation modeling offers several advantages over traditional tools like Excel when it comes to terminal planning.

  1. Capturing Variation and Uncertainty:
    Terminal operations are subject to various sources of variation, such as fluctuating demand, weather conditions, and equipment failures. Unlike Excel, simulation models can incorporate this variation and provide a more accurate representation of real-world scenarios. By considering these uncertainties, analysts can assess the robustness of their plans and make informed decisions that account for potential disruptions.
  2. Modeling Network Dynamics Over Time:
    Terminal operations are not static but rather dynamic in nature, with multiple interconnected processes occurring simultaneously. Simulation models allow users to model the network over time, capturing the flow of goods, the movement of vehicles, and the interactions between different processes. This dynamic perspective enables analysts to understand how delays and queueing impact the overall system, identify potential bottlenecks, and optimize resource allocation accordingly.

Applications of Simulation Modeling in Rail and Intermodal Terminals:

Simulation modeling finds a wide range of applications in terminal planning, offering valuable insights and facilitating data-driven decision-making. Here are some key applications:

  1. Capacity Analysis:
    Simulation models can assess the capacity of rail and intermodal terminals to handle varying volumes of goods. By simulating different demand scenarios, analysts can identify potential bottlenecks and capacity constraints. This information allows them to make informed decisions regarding infrastructure investments, resource allocation, and process improvements to enhance the terminal’s throughput.
  2. Throughput Optimization:
    Simulation modeling enables analysts to evaluate different operating strategies and identify the most efficient allocation of resources within a terminal. By simulating various scenarios, such as changes in equipment configurations or process modifications, analysts can optimize the throughput and minimize congestion. This optimization can lead to improved service levels, reduced costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
  3. Scenario Analysis:
    Simulation models provide a powerful tool for conducting scenario analysis in terminal planning. Analysts can simulate and compare the impact of different operational changes, such as introducing new equipment, modifying layouts, or adjusting scheduling parameters. By assessing the consequences of these changes in a virtual environment, decision-makers can evaluate their feasibility, understand potential risks, and make informed choices that minimize disruption and maximize efficiency.


Simulation modeling offers a transformative approach to terminal planning in rail and intermodal operations. By surpassing the limitations of Excel, rail terminal simulation models provide a more accurate representation of complex systems, allowing analysts to incorporate variation, model network dynamics over time, and understand the impact of delays and queueing. The applications of simulation modeling in capacity analysis, throughput optimization, and scenario analysis empower decision-makers to make informed choices, optimize resource allocation, and enhance operational efficiency. Embracing simulation modeling as a planning tool enables rail and intermodal terminals to stay ahead in an increasingly dynamic and competitive logistics landscape.

InterDynamics have been helping clients improve their understanding of their logistics networks for over 30 years with their simulation software Planimate. Contact us to discuss your operation and how we can help maximise your returns.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Decision Support Systems


In the world of modern business, decision-making is a critical factor in achieving success. To make informed choices, organizations rely on decision support systems (DSS). These software applications provide valuable insights by analyzing data. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of decision support systems and their impact on businesses and organizations.

The Benefits of Decision Support Systems

Empowering Effective Decision-Making

Decision support systems enhance the decision-making process by providing real-time access to relevant information. Through advanced analytical tools and data integration, DSS allows decision-makers to evaluate different scenarios, identify trends, and assess potential outcomes accurately.

Boosting Efficiency and Productivity

By automating routine tasks and streamlining complex processes, decision support systems significantly improve organizational efficiency and productivity. DSS eliminates manual data collection and analysis, enabling employees to focus on strategic activities, ultimately leading to improved business performance.

Rapid and Accurate Decision-Making

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, timely decision-making is paramount. Decision support systems provide real-time data and analytics, allowing decision-makers to respond swiftly to market changes. With DSS, organizations can analyze vast volumes of data and generate actionable insights within minutes, giving them a competitive edge.

Visualizing Data for Effective Communication

Decision support systems offer powerful data visualization and reporting capabilities. Through charts, graphs, and interactive dashboards, DSS presents complex information in a visually appealing and easily understandable format. This visual representation enhances communication and collaboration among teams, aligning strategies and objectives effectively.

Mitigating Risks through Improved Risk Management

Risk management is crucial for businesses to navigate uncertainties successfully. Decision support systems aid in risk assessment and mitigation by providing accurate and up-to-date information. DSS allows organizations to analyze historical data, identify potential risks, and evaluate the impact of decisions on risk levels, ensuring informed choices.

Optimizing Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is key to organizational success. Decision support systems offer valuable insights that support strategic planning processes. DSS enables businesses to perform in-depth analysis, conduct market research, competitor analysis, and financial modeling. Leveraging DSS helps organizations evaluate different strategies, forecast future trends, and optimize decision-making aligned with long-term goals.

The Drawbacks of Decision Support Systems

Initial Implementation Costs

Implementing a decision support system can entail significant investment, including software licenses, hardware infrastructure, data integration, and training costs. While this might pose a financial challenge for some organizations, it is essential to consider the long-term benefits and potential return on investment that a well-implemented DSS can provide.

Learning Curve and Complexity

Decision support systems are sophisticated tools that require training and expertise to utilize effectively. The complexity of DSS can present a learning curve for users unfamiliar with the software. Proper training and ongoing support are crucial to fully leverage the potential of DSS and ensure efficient utilization.

Data Quality and Integration Challenges

The effectiveness of decision support systems heavily relies on the quality and integration of data from various sources. Inaccurate or incomplete data can compromise the reliability of insights generated by DSS. Establishing robust data governance processes and investing in data quality management are essential to ensure accurate and reliable decision-making.

Overreliance on Technology

While decision support systems significantly enhance decision-making processes, there is a risk of overreliance on technology. It is crucial to strike a balance between leveraging the capabilities of DSS and incorporating human expertise and intuition. DSS should be seen as tools to assist decision-makers rather than replacing human judgment entirely.

Security and Privacy Concerns

Decision support systems deal with sensitive and confidential data, making security and privacy a top concern. Organizations must ensure robust security measures, including authentication mechanisms, data encryption, and compliance with data protection regulations. Maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders is crucial in safeguarding data.

Potential Bias and Misinterpretation

As with any data-driven system, decision support systems can be susceptible to biases and misinterpretations. Flawed decisions may result from biased input data or misinterpretation of analysis results. Critical evaluation of DSS-generated insights and ensuring data integrity are essential to avoid making decisions based on faulty assumptions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Which industries benefit the most from decision support systems?

A: Decision support systems are valuable across various industries, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and retail. Any industry that relies on data analysis and informed decision-making can leverage the advantages of DSS.

Q: Can decision support systems replace human decision-makers?

A: No, decision support systems are designed to assist and augment human decision-makers, not replace them entirely. DSS provides valuable insights but should be used in conjunction with human judgment and expertise.

Q: Are decision support systems expensive to maintain?

A: The cost of maintaining a decision support system varies depending on complexity, data processing scale, and support requirements. However, the long-term benefits often outweigh the maintenance costs.

Q: How can decision support systems improve collaboration within organizations?

A: Decision support systems facilitate collaboration by providing a centralized platform for data sharing and analysis. DSS promotes transparency, alignment, and effective communication among stakeholders.

Q: Can decision support systems handle real-time data analysis?

A: Yes, many decision support systems can handle real-time data analysis. By leveraging advanced analytics and integration with real-time data sources, DSS enables informed decisions based on up-to-date information.

Q: Are decision support systems scalable for growing businesses?

A: Decision support systems can scale with business growth. Proper planning and infrastructure ensure DSS can accommodate increased data volume and analytical requirements.


Decision support systems offer significant advantages in enhancing decision-making processes and improving organizational efficiency. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of DSS, organizations can make informed decisions regarding their implementation and utilization. Considering factors such as initial costs, data quality, security, and the need for human expertise, businesses can harness the power of decision support systems to drive success in today’s competitive landscape.

InterDynamics has been creating Decision Support System for clients around the world since 1992. Contact us today to start a discussion.

Overcoming Survivorship Bias in Simulation Software for Accurate Predictions in the Rail, Shipping, and Logistics Industries

The Role of Simulation Software in Optimizing Complex Systems

Simulation software has revolutionized the way complex systems in the rail, shipping, and logistics industries are planned, managed, and optimized. It allows companies to model different scenarios and predict the performance of their systems under various conditions. However, with the increasing use of simulation software comes the risk of survivorship bias in data analysis, which can lead to inaccurate predictions and suboptimal decision-making.

The Problem of Survivorship Bias in Data Analysis

Survivorship bias can creep into the data collection process, leading to incomplete and biased data sets. This occurs when only data from successful operations are analyzed, while data from failed operations are ignored. In the rail industry, for example, survivorship bias can occur when only analyzing data from trains that complete their routes on time, while ignoring data from delayed or cancelled trains. Similarly, in the shipping industry, survivorship bias can occur when only analyzing data from successful deliveries and ignoring data from lost or damaged shipments. And in the logistics industry, survivorship bias can occur when only analyzing data from successful supply chain operations and ignoring data from failed or disrupted ones.

Avoiding Survivorship Bias for Reliable Simulation Results

To avoid survivorship bias in simulation software, it is essential to ensure a large and diverse sample size, collect data from both successful and failed operations, and include all relevant data in the analysis. For example, rail companies can collect data from all trains, regardless of whether they complete their routes on time or not, and analyze this data to identify patterns and trends. Similarly, shipping companies can collect data from all shipments, regardless of whether they are successful or not, and use this data to identify risks and optimize their transportation strategies. Logistics companies can collect data from all supply chain operations, including failed or disrupted ones, and use this data to identify and mitigate risks.


Simulation software has become an essential tool for optimizing and predicting the performance of complex systems in the rail, shipping, and logistics industries. However, accurate data collection and analysis are crucial for reliable simulation results. By avoiding survivorship bias, companies can collect and analyze data from a large and diverse sample size, including data from both successful and failed operations, and make better-informed decisions based on reliable simulation results.

The Dangers of Planning with Averages

When it comes to managing supply chains, planning based solely on averages can be a recipe for disaster. While averages can provide a useful snapshot of what to expect, they fail to take into account the random variability that occurs in real-world situations. This can lead to a range of issues, from stock shortages to inefficient use of resources. In this article, we’ll explore why planning a supply chain based on averages is poor, and provide some examples of how this can impact businesses.

What is an average, and why is it problematic?

An average is a measure of central tendency that is calculated by adding up a set of values and dividing them by the number of values in the set. This can be useful when trying to get an overall sense of what is happening, but it is important to remember that averages are just one way of looking at data. Averages can mask important information, such as the range of values that make up the data set, the frequency of different outcomes, and the degree of variation around the mean. Averaging ignores the importance that random variation plays in operations, especially with the ability to predict congestion and minimize storage structures, and manage capacity.

The problem with planning based on averages is that it assumes that the future will be similar to the past. This is not always the case, as random events can cause significant disruptions to supply chains. For example, a sudden surge in demand for a product might cause a stock shortage if the supply chain has been planned based on average levels of demand. Similarly, unexpected delays in shipping or production can throw off supply chain plans if they are not taken into account.

Planning with Averages vs Distributions

There are many examples of how random variability can impact supply chains. One of the most common is the bullwhip effect, which occurs when small fluctuations in demand at the local level are amplified as they move up the supply chain. This can cause significant swings in inventory levels, as suppliers and manufacturers try to anticipate future demand based on incomplete or inaccurate information.

planning with averagesA static model may consider train travel time, loading time, return travel time and unloading time. Consider the diagram to the left. The train travel time may be an average of 12 hours but in reality it is a distribution between 10 and 18 hours.

How does that affect the plan and  what impact does that variation have on the next step in the supply chain? Every process, every movement will have a distribution of historical times performance. A common cause of congestion or queuing is not accounting for variability, and how that affects the overall supply chain.



Other impacts include:

  1. Inadequate inventory levels: If the supply chain is planned based on average levels of demand, it may result in inadequate inventory levels during peak periods, leading to stockouts and supply disruptions.
  2. Inefficient use of resources: If the supply chain is planned based on average levels of production, it may result in inefficient use of resources during periods of low demand, leading to increased costs and reduced profitability.


In conclusion, planning a supply chain based on averages is a poor strategy, as it fails to acknowledge the random variability that occurs in real-world situations. Instead, supply chain managers should use a range of tools and techniques to model different scenarios and prepare for unexpected events. This might include using simulation software to test different scenarios, building in extra capacity to buffer against fluctuations in demand, and maintaining close relationships with suppliers and customers to stay up to date on the latest developments. By taking a proactive and flexible approach, businesses can improve their resilience and better respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

InterDynamics has assisted clients around the world to improve their supply chain planning using their discrete event simulation software Planimate. Contact Us to learn more about our supply chain planning software and Decision Support Systems.

Supply Chain Planning

Effective supply chain management requires proper planning and execution. Capacity planning is an important aspect of supply chain management that helps organizations optimize their resources and ensure that they can meet customer demands efficiently. To achieve this goal, companies are turning to simulation software to help them better understand capacity planning and improve their supply chain operations. In this article, we will discuss the importance of planning, its benefits, and how simulation can help organizations improve their supply chain planning.

Importance of Capacity Planning in Supply Chain Management

Capacity planning involves the process of determining the production capacity that an organization needs to meet customer demand. It is an important aspect of supply chain management because it helps companies avoid stock-outs, reduce lead times, and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. Capacity planning involves forecasting demand, evaluating production capabilities, and creating a production plan that meets demand without exceeding available resources. By doing so, organizations can better manage their inventory levels, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency.

Understanding Capacity Planning

Capacity planning involves evaluating production capabilities and determining the resources needed to meet customer demand. This includes evaluating the capacity of existing production facilities, forecasting demand, and determining the necessary resources such as labor, materials, and equipment. The production plan created through capacity planning helps organizations optimize their resources and ensure that they can meet customer demand efficiently.

Do you know your capacity should the demand increase? Are you ready to capitalize on those opportunities? Similarly for business interruption. How long does it take to recover from different failures? What is the best response to these events?

Benefits of Using Simulation in Supply Chain Planning

Supply Chain simulation software is a powerful tool that helps organizations better understand capacity planning by simulating various scenarios and evaluating their impact on production. By using simulation software, organizations can test different production strategies, evaluate the impact of different variables on production, and make better-informed decisions. The benefits of using simulation software in supply chain include:

  1. Better Decision Making: Organizations make better-informed decisions by modeling the supply, demand and asset performance and interactions at interfaces. This allows organizations to understand dependencies, evaluate different scenarios and choose the most efficient production plan.
  2. Improved Productivity: The software will identify bottlenecks in the supply chain and explore changes to maximize throughput. This can lead to improved volume, reduced inventory, less queuing and higher utilization.
  3. Reduced Costs: Modeling helps organizations identify areas where they can reduce costs by decreasing the assets allocated to tasks, identify additional opportunities for production or maintenance.
  4. More robust planning: By analysing numerous scenarios including modeling with variable distributions, your plans should withstand normal operational variability. This allows you to follow the plan for longer rather than reacting to any disruption.

How InterDynamics Can Improve Planningsupply chain planning

We use Planimate, our own simulation software, to build Decision Support Systems that enable you to understand your supply chain capacity in any scenario. Consider the following example:

An Iron Ore Supply Chain consisting of numerous mines, rail network, and multiple ports has numerous constraints. Each month they are required to produce a plan across all sites that maximises volume for shipping. The planners are responsible for setting the production target for the month for mines, rail and shipping.

Our model takes into consideration monthly production capabilities of the mines, rollingstock available, rail speed restrictions, planned maintenance, starting inventory levels and planned shipping. Every process is modelled including variation according to historical performance. The model runs several times using different random seeds to generate a range of outcomes.

From this, the users can then test various scenarios to measure the impact of changes. For example, a maintenance manager wants an extra day on a piece of equipment. Marketing needs to swap cargoes on a vessel. Mine quality needs to change during the month. Train loading speeds are to be reduced at a mine. Can opportune maintenance be performed? Any scenario can be factored into the plan and the impact is understood and can be shared with internal stakeholders.

This process greatly improved planning accuracy which created a more stable operation by giving clear guidelines to each department and it also lowered demurrage by avoiding lengthy shipping delays. High or level levels of inventory can be seen in advance and be either managed or smoothed out through changes to the plan. Additionally, having a greater level of insight, the planners were able to rapidly to respond to opportunities and interruptions that occurred during the month.


In conclusion, capacity planning is an essential aspect of supply chain management that helps organizations optimize their resources and meet customer demands efficiently. Simulation software can help organizations improve their capacity planning by providing more thorough analysis and insights into their end to end supply chain production processes. By using these tools, organizations can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

Capacity Planning in Bulk Freight Industry

Bulk freight transportation plays a crucial role in the global economy, with industries such as mining, agriculture, and energy relying on it to transport goods in large quantities. However, with volatile market conditions and unpredictable demand, capacity planning is becoming increasingly important to ensure efficient operations and profitability. In this article, we will explore the significance of capacity planning in the bulk freight industry and how discrete event simulation software can assist in the process.

The Importance of Capacity Planning in Bulk Freight Industry

Capacity planning is the process of determining the amount of resources required to meet the demand for a product or service. In the bulk freight industry, this involves ensuring that there is enough equipment, such as ships, trains, and trucks, to transport the required volume of goods efficiently. Without proper capacity planning, companies risk either underutilizing their resources, leading to increased costs and reduced profits, or overcommitting resources, which can result in missed opportunities and decreased customer satisfaction.

Effective supply chain planning can also help companies mitigate the risk of supply chain disruptions caused by unexpected events such as adverse weather conditions or equipment breakdowns. With a clear understanding of their capacity, companies can identify potential bottlenecks in the supply chain and develop contingency plans to minimize the impact of any disruptions.

The Role of Simulation Software in Capacity Planning

Simulation software can be a powerful tool in capacity planning for the bulk freight industry. It allows companies to model and analyze different scenarios, including changes in demand, equipment availability, and supply chain disruptions, to determine the optimal capacity needed to meet customer requirements while maximizing profits.

Simulation software can also help companies evaluate the impact of different factors on their capacity, such as changes in equipment specifications or improvements in operational efficiency. This information can be used to make informed decisions about investments in new equipment or process improvements to optimize capacity utilization.

Additionally, simulation software can aid in the development of contingency plans to minimize the impact of supply chain disruptions. By modeling different scenarios, companies can identify potential bottlenecks and determine the best course of action to mitigate the impact of any disruptions, such as rerouting shipments or adjusting production schedules.

How Simulation Software Simplifies Planning

Simulation software uses mathematical algorithms to model and simulate real-world scenarios. These simulations can help companies gain insight into the behavior of their systems and make informed decisions about how to optimize their operations. In the case of capacity planning in the bulk freight industry, simulation software can model the transportation network, including the various modes of transportation, routes, and shipping schedules.

By inputting data on factors such as demand, capacity, and lead times, simulation software can create a virtual representation of the transportation network. This representation can then be used to simulate different scenarios, such as changes in demand or equipment availability, to determine the optimal capacity needed to meet customer requirements.

Simulation software can also be used to evaluate the impact of different policies or strategies on capacity planning. For example, companies can model the impact of different pricing strategies on demand and capacity utilization, or the impact of different investments in equipment or process improvements on overall capacity. This is also known as a Decision Support System.

Benefits of Capacity Planning

The use of simulation software in capacity planning offers several benefits to companies in the bulk freight industry. These benefits include:

  1. Improved accuracy: Simulation software can provide a more accurate representation of the transportation network, including the various factors that impact capacity, such as demand, lead times, and equipment availability.
  2. Faster decision-making: By quickly modeling and simulating different scenarios, simulation software can help companies make informed decisions about investments in equipment or process improvements to optimize capacity utilization.
  3. Better risk management: By modeling different scenarios, simulation software can help companies develop contingency plans to minimize the impact of supply chain disruptions.
  4. Cost savings: Simulation software can help companies identify areas of inefficiency in their transportation network, leading to cost savings through optimized capacity utilization and reduced transportation costs.
  5. Improved customer service: By ensuring that there is enough capacity to meet customer demand, companies can improve customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty.


Capacity planning is essential in the bulk freight industry to ensure efficient operations and profitability. Simulation software can be a powerful tool in capacity planning, allowing companies to model and analyze different scenarios and make informed decisions about investments in equipment and process improvements. The benefits of simulation software in capacity planning include improved accuracy, faster decision-making, better risk management, cost savings, and improved customer service. As the global economy becomes increasingly dependent on the bulk freight industry, companies that invest in simulation software for capacity planning will be better positioned to succeed in a volatile and competitive market.

Modeling with Discrete Event Simulation

When it comes to modeling complex systems and analyzing their behavior, Discrete Event Simulation (DES) software has proven to be an invaluable tool. By allowing users to create models that mimic the behavior of real-world systems, DES software provides valuable insights into how a system works, and how changes to that system can impact its performance.

What is Discrete Event Simulation?

At its core, Discrete Event Simulation is a process that allows users to simulate the behavior of a system over time. This process involves modeling the system in question, including its various components and their interactions, and then running simulations to observe how the system behaves under different conditions. Unlike Continuous Simulation, which models systems as continuous functions, Discrete Event Simulation models systems as a series of discrete events, such as the arrival of a customer or the start of a manufacturing process.

The Advantages of Discrete Event Simulation

There are several advantages to using Discrete Event Simulation software over other modeling methods. For example, because DES models systems as a series of discrete events, it can more accurately model complex systems that involve multiple components and interactions. Additionally, DES software allows users to simulate a system under a wide range of conditions, providing valuable insights into how the system will behave under different scenarios.

Building Simulation Models with Discrete Event Simulation Software

One of the key features of simulation software is its ability to build complex models. By allowing users to model a system’s components and their interactions, DES software can provide a detailed view of how a system behaves over time. For example, DES software can model the flow of materials through a manufacturing process, or the movement of goods through a supply chain. A pit to port supply chain model would include all business operations including mining, transportation, loading, unloading and terminal processes, and enable the user to make input changes to schedules, test variability and generate tabular and graphic outputs for analysis.

Discrete Event Simulation Software for Industry

Discrete Event Simulation software is used in a variety of industries, from healthcare to logistics to manufacturing. In healthcare fields, DES software can be used to model patient flows through hospitals, allowing healthcare professionals to optimize the delivery of care. In logistics, DES software can be used to model the movement of goods through a supply chain, minimizing delivery times and reducing costs. For a railway, a model or Decision Support System can analyse the track capacity in conjunction with schedules and rollingstock information to help determine infrastructure upgrades required or where opportunities exist for maintenance.

Planimate: Model Building to Visualize, Animate your Operations and Processes

One popular option simulation software is Planimate. Planimate runs on Windows, and is a powerful, user-friendly software package that allows users to easily build and simulate complex models of business processes and operations. With its built-in graphical capabilities, users can  create detailed animations of processes and workflows, enhancing their understanding of how a system works. Take a look at a quick video here.

Planimate is highly versatile and can be used in a variety of industries, including railways, logistics, mining and manufacturing. Its drag-and-drop functionality, visualization and intuitive interface make it easy to build and modify models, and its built-in simulation engine provides accurate, reliable results.


In conclusion, Discrete Event Simulation software is a powerful tool for modeling complex systems and gaining valuable insights into how those systems behave. With its ability to model systems as a series of discrete events, DES software provides a highly accurate view of how a system works, and how changes to that system can impact its performance. Planimate is one example of a powerful modelling package that can be used in a variety of industries, and its built-in graphical capabilities and user-friendly interface make it an excellent option for businesses and organizations looking to optimize their operations and processes.

Read more about Planimate here or Contact InterDynamics if you want to ask about our simulation modeling capability. Additionally, you can download Planimate LITE for free!

discrete event simulation

Rail Simulation Software

Simulation is a powerful tool that has revolutionized the way we plan and operate railways. With the help of simulation software, it is possible to create accurate rail simulation models that can provide valuable insights into railway systems and logistics networks. Railways consist of many moving parts and interactions on track and at terminals. A simulation model is the perfect way to analyse every element of a network. Planimate is one such rail simulation software that offers a user-friendly interface for creating detailed rail simulations.

An Overview of Planimate’s Capabilities

Planimate is a discrete event simulation software that can be used to model all facets of a rail system. It offers a wide range of features, including the ability to model rail networks, trains, locomotives, signals, and routes. Planimate also enables the user to create and edit timetables, connect and link depots or terminals, and simulate different train characteristics.

Examples of Planimate’s Use in Railway Simulation

One of the most significant benefits of Planimate is its ability to model complex railway systems. For example, it can be used to simulate freight and passenger trains, railway infrastructure, and railway operations. Planimate can also be used to model different scenarios, such as bottlenecks, layout changes, and capacity constraints, to help optimize rail operations.

Another key advantage of Planimate is its user interface, which is designed to be flexible and easy to use. This makes it an ideal tool for rail engineers, planners, and other professionals who need a platform to better understand their network and make informed decisions based on their analysis.

Planimate features track items to simplify the building of a rail network which allow users to define the number of roads and control maintenance or speed restrictions.

In addition, Planimate provides technical support and expertise to help users make the most of its features. This includes assistance with programming and input/output processing, as well as the ability to customize simulation models to meet specific requirements.

Optimizing Rail Operations with Planimate

By using Planimate, professionals can gain valuable insight into rail operations and make data-driven decisions to optimize these operations. For example, they can use Planimate to create detailed rail simulation models that offer a realistic representation of railway systems and operations. This can help identify bottlenecks and capacity constraints, optimize train schedules and routes, and improve the efficiency of transport operations.

Planimate also enables users to simulate different scenarios, such as changes to railway infrastructure, rollingstock and maintenance schedules. By simulating these scenarios, users can gain a better understanding of their impact on the operation, identify potential solutions and determine the most efficient investment options.

Modelling the impact of variation is another feature of Planimate. Rather than planning with averages, Planimate allows variables to be entered as a distribution e.g. travel times or loading times. This gives you the ability to measure the impact variability has on your capacity and help you determine what buffers or additional infrastructure are required in your network e.g. passing loops, duplication, holding roads, additional locos etc.

Finally, Planimate offers a range of tools that enable users to maximize the efficiency of operations. This includes the ability to analyze networks and schedules, optimize train acceleration and braking, and improve the adhesion of freight cars.


In summary, Planimate is a powerful railway simulation software that can help rail professionals optimize their operations. By providing detailed rail simulation models, simulating different scenarios, and offering a range of optimization tools, Planimate can provide valuable insight into railway systems and operations. With its user-friendly interface and technical support, Planimate is an ideal tool for rail engineers, planners, and other professionals who need to simulate rail operations and make data-driven decisions.


InterDynamics has been creating rail models, in the form of Decision Support Systems, for clients since 1992 and our developer team is ready to help. Read more about InterDynamics Decision Support capability or Contact Us to discuss your requirements.

A conceptual summary:

rail simulation

The maritime industry is crucial for global trade, and ports are the backbone of this industry. Port and terminal operations are complex and involve several variables, such as vessel traffic, cargo handling, and multimodal transportation. To optimize port and terminal operations, simulation modeling is a powerful tool that can help decision-makers find the best strategies for improving profitability and customer satisfaction. In this article, we will explore how port simulation software can help port authorities, terminal operators, and investors in the maritime industry.

Port Simulation – The Basics

Simulation is the process of modeling port and terminal operations using simulation software. The software creates a digital twin of the port or terminal, including all physical assets such as cranes, gantries, and stacks. Using this model, decision-makers can simulate various scenarios and evaluate the impact of different variables on port and terminal operations. This helps in identifying bottlenecks, reducing waiting times, and minimizing demurrage.

Case Studies – Examples of Port Simulation in Action

Case studies demonstrate the usefulness of simulation modeling in optimizing port and terminal operations. In a container terminal software simulation, the system identified bottlenecks in the container yard, and the operator was able to allocate resources efficiently to reduce idle time and demurrage. In another example, simulation modeling helped a port authority to assess the impact of environmental factors on port operations and identify mitigation strategies. A bulk client benefited by testing different port stockyard management scenarios and varied stockpile sizes, products and positions and reduced overall inventory requirements.

Port Simulation Software – Key Features

Port and terminal simulation software has several key features that make it a powerful tool for port and terminal operations. The software is user-friendly, with drag-and-drop interfaces and built-in templates that make it easy to create simulation models. The software can simulate complex systems, including vessel traffic, cargo handling, and quay allocation. The software provides real-time visual feedback, allowing decision-makers to see the impact of different strategies on port and terminal operations.

Using a simulator for Ports and Terminals

Use of simulation modeling helps decision-makers to optimize port and terminal operations by identifying the best strategies to improve throughput and reduce waiting times. The software can simulate various scenarios, including changes in vessel traffic, cargo volumes, and quay allocation. The software also allows decision-makers to stress test their strategies and evaluate the impact of disruptions on port and terminal operations.

To create a simulation model you need to:

Define the scope and purpose of the simulation: Determine what specific aspects of the port you want to simulate, such as vessel traffic, cargo handling, or multimodal transportation. Identify the key objectives of the simulation, such as increasing efficiency, reducing costs, or improving safety.

Collect data on the port’s physical layout, operating procedures, and historical performance including idle time and demurrage. These are the variables in a simulation model and the data may come from a variety of sources, including satellite imagery, surveys, and interviews with port personnel.

Select your simulation software. InterDynamics recommends and uses it’s Australian built and owned Planimate software.

Test the simulation model to ensure that it produces results that match the real-world performance of the port.

Use the simulation model to run multiple scenarios to explore different “what-if” scenarios, stress test the operation and evaluate the impact of different changes to the port’s operations.

The Benefits of a Port Simulator Software or Decision Support System

The benefits of using discrete event simulation software for port and container terminal operations are numerous. The simulator is a verifiable, risk-free environment where decision-makers can test different operational strategies and helps you make better decisions for improving operations. The software helps to reduce demurrage and waiting times, which can increase customer satisfaction. The software is also useful for investors who want to assess the profitability of a port or terminal before making an investment. Analyze the results of the simulation to identify areas where the port can be optimized for more efficient logistics, cost reduction, or safety improvement. Use the insights gained to make informed decisions about changes to the port’s operations. You can also plan your disruption response or risk mitigation by incorporating random disruptions.

Simulation is a powerful tool for optimizing port and terminal operations. The software creates a digital twin of the port or terminal, allowing decision-makers to simulate various scenarios and identify the best strategies for improving operations. Port modeling software is a risk-free environment for testing different strategies, reducing demurrage and waiting times, and increasing customer satisfaction. In the complex world of port and terminal operations, simulation modeling is a valuable tool for decision-makers.

Upstream operations can be included in your simulation if you have an end to end supply chain. Model rail networks, warehouses, mines and more for a full supply chain simulation.

InterDynamics has an experienced team of developers ready to create your custom port model. Contact Us to get started.







Planimate is a discrete event simulation software that is used to model and analyze complex systems. The software has been developed in Australia since 1986 by InterDynamics Pty Ltd, and is widely used in industries such as manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and supply chain management.

Many users consider Planimate to be a powerful and flexible tool for simulating complex systems. One of the key strengths of Planimate is its ability to model systems with a high degree of detail and accuracy, allowing users to analyze and optimize system performance. The software also has a user-friendly interface that allows users to easily create and modify models.

Planimate also has a lot of features that can be used to create detailed, accurate and realistic simulation models, such as:

  • It can handle large number of interacting agents and objects
  • It can handle multiple levels of detail and abstraction
  • It has powerful animation and visualization capabilities
  • It supports a wide range of modeling and optimization techniques
  • It has a powerful scripting language that allows users to customize the software and add new features

In general, Planimate is considered to be a great choice for discrete event simulation, especially for modeling and analyzing complex systems with a high degree of detail and accuracy. However, as with any simulation software, the suitability of Planimate for a particular application will depend on the specific requirements of the project and the user’s level of expertise with the software.

Read more and download Planimate here

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