How to run a container terminal in two days

Venturn focuses on Leaders and Leadership Development within the Maritime Supply Chain. One of the ways we do this is through Learning & Development. In this article we highlight one of our most successful and fun tools: The Terminal Excellence Business Simulation game.

A terminal business simulation tailored to your reality. Our Founding Partner Patrick van de Ven developed this simulation and accompanying training, using the extensive knowledge he has gathered over the past 20 years in the maritime domain. Terminal Excellence can be utilized for training existing and new employees on running the terminal efficiently, as well as providing customized solutions for various purposes, such as academic curriculum integration, recruitment, talent identification, and leadership outings. In this article, we’ll take a closer look on what this simulation entails and what can you achieve with it.

Getting started

Learn how to successfully run a complete container terminal in two days. That is the essence of the Terminal Excellence business simulation. In a group of a maximum of 24 participants, divided into four teams, all aspects involved in running a container terminal are covered in a short period of time. During this game, the participants learn to deal with the various factors that influence a container terminal. Think of customers, autonomous influences, weather situations, accidents and breakdowns. Participants learn to make the right decisions and to see the coherence of all these aspects, such as investing, divesting, hiring personnel, recruitment and selection, and finding the right balance between the amount of equipment and personnel.

On average, participants play for five ‘years’ or rounds in two to three days. The game consists of a number of fixed phases that return every year. Each quarter has its own assignment. The first quarter consists of negotiations with the shipping companies. In the second quarter, teams draw up smart plans based on an assignment, such as writing a strategy to recruit as much talent as possible, or a lean project. The third quarter is used for investments; buying cranes for example. Ultimately, the year is closed by taking stock in the fourth quarter and planning ahead for the new year. There is a lot of competition between the teams: everyone wants to win and run the most successful terminal. This creates enormous cooperation within the teams and a clear division of roles.

Getting smarter

In general, there are three reasons for companies to use Terminal Excellence. The first reason is to ‘get smarter’ at the terminal by teaching employees how they can operate the terminal even better. A business simulation helps to list the dependencies of various aspects on a terminal and to experience which of these aspects are most important in business performance. A second reason is to inject employees without prior knowledge with the right elements of a terminal. This is especially relevant for newer staff members who come from other industries and have no detailed knowledge how a terminal really works. Terminal Excellence helps these employees to get a complete picture. A final reason is to use Terminal Excellence as a recruitment and selection tool to recruit the right candidates. In other words, to assess whether they understand how a container terminal works and whether they have an affinity with the terminal world.

What’s in it for participants? For starters, it’s great fun as a team building activity. It enriches insight and bridges the gap between different departments: for example, marketing and sales now really understand how operations work on a terminal and HR now understands how the finances of a terminal work. All in all, the biggest advantage is that there is more mutual understanding and therefore the barriers to cooperation are lowered. In addition, you also get ideas that can be developed further in practice.


Venturn is of course not the only company that develops and deploys business games. But what sets us apart from others is that our services and products are very much applied to challenges that companies in the maritime supply chain struggle with within their organization. There are a number of modules in the game that can be tailored to the needs of the customer. This means that Terminal Excellence is highly relevant from a practical perspective with the added benefit of being tailor-made to simulate the operations of existing terminals. In addition, you don’t play this business simulation just to play the game. During the game we go through processes on a terminal in-depth and support organizations in gaining new strategic insights.

Get in touch

All in all, business simulations such as Terminal Excellence are both educational and fun to do. It provides connection between employees who are normally not so connected. Interested in how Terminal Excellence or our other Learning & Development activities can support your organization in improving processes and performance? Contact us today via [email protected] to discuss the possibilities and match them to your organization’s needs and ambitions.

What we stand for

People empowerment

We believe people are at the core of innovation. By paying close attention to their needs in time of change, we drive individual and team performance.

Industry expertise

Our team possesses the international network and industry knowledge necessary to develop tailored solutions for any organisation in the supply chain.

Results-oriented approach

With our hands-on consultancy, we focus on implementing organisational change. We guide the client organisation throughout the entire change process to ensure desired results are achieved.

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