The profit maximizing liner shipping problem with flexible frequencies: logistical and environmental considerations

Massimo Giovannini, Harilaos N. Psaraftis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

284 Downloads (Pure)


The literature on liner shipping includes many models on containership speed optimization, fleet deployment, fleet size and mix, network design and other problem variants and combinations. Many of these models, and in fact most models at the tactical planning level, assume a fixed revenue for the ship operator and as a result they typically minimize costs. This treatment does not capture a fundamental characteristic of shipping market behavior, that ships tend to speed up in periods of high freight rates and slow down in depressed market conditions. This paper develops a simple model for a fixed route scenario which, among other things, incorporates the influence of freight rates, along with that of fuel prices and cargo inventory costs into the overall decision process. The objective to be maximized is the line’s average daily profit. Departing from convention, the model is also able to consider flexible service frequencies, to be selected from a broader set than the standard assumption of one call per week. It is shown that this may lead to better solutions and that the cost of forcing a fixed frequency can be significant. Such cost is attributed either to additional fuel cost if the fleet is forced to sail faster to accommodate a frequency that is higher than the optimal one, or to lost income if the opposite is the case. The impact of the line’s decisions on CO2 emissions is also examined and illustrative runs of the model are made on three existing services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFlexible Services and Manufacturing Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)567–597
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ship speed optimization
  • Liner shipping
  • Container shipping
  • CO2 emissions


Dive into the research topics of 'The profit maximizing liner shipping problem with flexible frequencies: logistical and environmental considerations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this