This paper describes a detailed stochastic simulation model integrated with a transactional database to model operations in an empty container depot. Empty container depots are found ubiquitously in supply chains around the world but there has been virtually no quantitative research done to assess operational policies nor layout designs. In this work we determine the performance of operational policies related to the stacking and retrieval of empty containers to derive recommendations for policy improvements and, in future work, the yard layout design. A simulation model was chosen as the proper tool to address these aims because of the uncertain nature and complex handling actions of an empty container depot. Results thus far show that policies concerning remarshalling and retrieval strongly influence the efficiency of the depot operations in terms of the truck turnaround times, as well as the utilization of the resources which include yard cranes and personnel.