This paper presents a model for a dock assignment problem, where trailers need to be assigned to gates for a given period of time for loading or unloading activities.
The parking lot is used as a buffer zone. Transportation between the parking lot and the gates is performed by additional resources called terminal tractors. The problem is modeled as a three-stage flexible flow shop, where the first and the third stage share the same identical parallel machines and the second stage consists of a different set of
identical parallel machines. We examine multiple integer-programming formulations for the parallel-machine model in stage two and for the three-stage flow shop, we look into
the issue of symmetry and we provide extensive computational results. Our goal is to explore the limits of the instance sizes that can be solved to guaranteed optimality within acceptable running times using integer programming.