Routing and scheduling in feeder line operations

David Sacramento Lechado

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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The maritime transportation is the backbone of globalised trade and the man- ufacturing supply chain, being the mode of transportation most widely used worldwide, and allowing the transportation of large quantities of goods at very competitive and economic prices. The international shipping industry carries out more than 80% by volume of the world merchandise trade, and the majority of the transportation is served by the liner shipping industry. The distinctive characteristic of liner shipping is the use of standardised containers for trans- porting cargo by means of specialised container vessels. Liner shipping connects most of the important ports around the world. However, this makes the size of the shipping network to be prohibitively large, notably increasing the complex- ity of the service network design problem. Therefore, to reduce complexity, the liner shipping network usually relies on a hub and feeder structure, facilitating the transportation of containers between ports through an efficient use of the hub ports as transshipment points. The goal of this PhD project is to investigate the design of the shipping network and determine how to transport containers under a feeder line structure. We aim to define new mathematical and constraint programming formulations for the network design and cargo routing for a feeder shipping company, and to develop a number of decision support tools for feeder routing and scheduling to help decision makers in the strategic and operational level. The articles presented in this thesis contribute to the field of Operations Re- search with application in maritime optimisation. This thesis begins with an introductory chapter about maritime transportation, and continues with an ex- tensive review providing an in-depth literature overview of existing models and solutions methods for liner shipping network design. The following article nar- rows the size of the shipping network and presents an efficient heuristic method for the feeder shipping network design problem. The next three articles focus on the operational planning of feeder container vessels in hub ports with multiple terminals. The first of these three articles introduces the new planning prob- lem and develops a heuristic method to generate high-quality solutions in short run times. The next article combines the previous heuristic with a constraint programming formulation, and the last article extends the model to include alternative berth options for feeder vessels during the operational planning pro- cess. Finally, the last chapter draws some conclusions and addresses future work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages318
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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