Optimisation in Feeder and Liner Shipping Operations

Erik Orm Hellsten

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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The liner shipping industry is in many regards the backbone of the global trade network. In 2019, 152 million standard container units were shipped worldwide. In a pressured market, where operations are scaled up to deal with lower freight
rates and new environmental regulations, the need for advanced analytical tools to help better utilise available assets is apparent. This thesis contributes to this transformation on several different levels. It presents decision support tools, readily applicable for practical use, as well as theoretical advancements in the field of mathematical optimisation. In the area of port operations, a problem of scheduling feeder vessels in larger ports is studied. The problem definition and modelling framework is formulated in collaboration with representatives from industry, and the developed adaptive large neighbourhood search-solution method has been tested for use in practice. A large set of computational experiments show the efficiency of the proposed methodology.

The remainder of the thesis focuses on different aspects of the design of liner shipping networks. In a thorough literature review, the recent methodological advances are compared and the main considerations, and the future of the field,
are discussed. The liner shipping network is frequently divided into global and regional networks, where the large vessels sails the long distances and the small vessels serves the smaller ports. A new formulation of the regional feeder network design problem is presented, and the core properties of the problem are studied. Further, a branch-and-price algorithm is developed, which finds a new best solution to the large feeder network instance in the classic instance set

Through the work on the fixed charge network design problem, this thesis contributes to the mathematical optimisation toolbox necessary for solving real-life size instances of liner shipping network design problems. The introduced deep
dual-optimal inequalities, for improving branch-and-price algorithms in network design, shows very promising results and will hopefully be useful, also in many areas outside of liner shipping.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages223
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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