Abstract The growth of containerization and transporting goods in containers has created many problems for ports. In this paper, we systematically survey a literature over problems in container terminals. The operations that take place in container terminals are described and then the problems are classified into five scheduling decisions. For each of the decisions, an overview of the literature is presented. After that, each of the decisions is formulated as Constraint Satisfaction and Optimization Problems (CSOPs). The literature also includes simulations and performance in container terminals. To evaluate any solution methods to the decisions and to measure its efficiency, several indicators are suggested.