Fundamental properties and pseudo-polynomial-time algorithm for network containership sailing speed optimization

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In container liner shipping, bunker cost is an important component of the total operating cost, and bunker consumption increases dramatically when the sailing speed of containerships increases. A higher speed implies higher bunker consumption (higher bunker cost), shorter transit time (lower inventory cost), and larger shipping capacity per ship per year (lower ship cost). Therefore, a container shipping company aims to determine the optimal sailing speed of containerships in a shipping network to minimize the total cost. We derive analytical solutions for sailing speed optimization on a single ship route with a continuous number of ships. The advantage of analytical solutions lies in that it unveils the underlying structure and properties of the problem, from which a number of valuable managerial insights can be obtained. Based on the analytical solution and the properties of the problem, the optimal integer number of ships to deploy on a ship route can be obtained by solving two equations, each in one unknown, using a simple bi-section search method. The properties further enable us to identify an optimality condition for network containership sailing speed optimization. Based on this optimality condition, we propose a pseudo-polynomial-time solution algorithm that can efficiently obtain an epsilon-optimal solution for sailing speed of containerships in a liner shipping network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Bunker fuel
  • Containership
  • Liner shipping
  • Sailing speed
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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