This paper proposes a practical tactical-level liner container assignment model for liner shipping companies, in which the container shipment demand is a non-increasing function of the transit time. Given the transit-time-sensitive demand, the model aims to determine which proportion of the demand to fulfill and how to transport these containers in a liner shipping network to maximize the total profit. Although the proposed model is similar to multi-commodity network-flow (MCNF) with side constraints, unlike the MCNF with time delay constraints or reliability constraints that is NP-hard, we show that the liner container assignment model is polynomially solvable due to its weekly schedule characteristics by developing two link-based linear programing formulations. A number of practical extensions and applications are analyzed and managerial insights are discussed. The polynomially solvable liner container assignment model is then applied to address several important decision problems proposed by a global liner shipping company.
- Linear programing
- Liner container assignment
- Link-based formulation
- Multicommodity network-flow problem with side constraints
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Management Science and Operations Research