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This paper summarizes recent experience in the application of discrete event simulation emulation software, and 3D visualization to evaluate and validate the performance of several highly advanced and automated container terminals. The combination of densified container stacking and advanced robotized container operations has created greater operational complexity, while at the same time creating opportunities to optimize processes and improve efficiencies. Using advanced discrete simulation during the planning of greenfield terminals or simulation for the optimization of existing terminals provides an agile approach that can be used to evaluate alternatives faster, in greater depth, and with higher confidence, compared to conventional methodologies. The simulations described in this paper were performed using an agile project approach, where multiple iterations were executed during the planning phase and eventually used in the holistic terminal evaluation and optimization and sensitivity simulation analyses to test and evaluate the robustness of the preferred terminal solution.