Essential elements in tactical planning models for container liner shipping

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Tactical planning models for liner shipping problems such as network design and fleet deployment usually minimize the total cost or maximize the total profit subject to constraints including ship availability, service frequency, ship capacity, and transshipment. Most models in the literature do not consider slot-purchasing, multi-type containers, empty container repositioning, or ship repositioning, and they formulate the numbers of containers to transport as continuous variables. This paper develops a mixed-integer linear programming model that captures all these elements. It further examines from the theoretical point of view the additional computational burden introduced by incorporating these elements in the planning model. Extensive numerical experiments are conducted to evaluate the effects of the elements on tactical planning decisions. Results demonstrate that slot-purchasing and empty container repositioning have the largest impact on tactical planning decisions and relaxing the numbers of containers as continuous variables has little impact on the decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Container liner shipping
  • Fleet deployment
  • Network design
  • Ship repositioning
  • Totally unimodular matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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