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Fleet deployment in liner shipping: a case study

Kjetil Fagerholt, Trond A. V. Johnsen and Haakon Lindstad

Maritime Policy & Management, 2009, vol. 36, issue 5, 397-409

Abstract: The fleet deployment problem is an important planning problem in liner shipping. It deals with optimally assigning voyages to available vessels in the fleet and determining vessel routes and schedules in a way that minimizes costs or maximizes profit. This paper presents a new model for a fleet deployment problem in liner shipping, and we also propose a multi-start local search heuristic to solve the problem. The heuristic has been embedded in a prototype decision support system (DSS) that has been implemented and tested at Höegh Autoliners, a major global provider of ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) vehicle transportation services. The heuristic was able to produce high-quality solutions within a few minutes to a real planning problem with more than 55 vessels and 150 voyages over a planning horizon of 4--6 months. Tests indicated that the solutions suggested by the DSS gave between 2 and 10% improvements compared with solutions from manual planning. What is almost equally important is that using the DSS can ease the planning process.

Date: 2009
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